When there is a dispute about which parent should have physical custody of the children the Court may appoint an investigator from Family Court Services (“FCS”) to conduct a child custody investigation, which is similar but much less extensive than a private child custody evaluation or 730 Evaluation.
This investigation is made pursuant to California Family Code Section 3111. Although the process is much less involved than a full 730 custody evaluation, the process generally takes two to three months from the time fees are paid by both parties.
What is Involved in a Court-Ordered Child Custody Investigation?
The investigation includes:
- A home visit
- Interviews with parents and age appropriate minors
- Interviews with collateral contacts are made at the discretion of the evaluator
An investigator from Family Court Services (“FCS”) will learn about the child’s living situation and other issues relating to custody and visitation.
The investigator will talk with the parents, read court papers, look at criminal records of anyone living in the house with the child, talk to the child and watch how they interact with parents or other family members. The investigator will also talk with other family members or witnesses in person or by phone, and possibly collect more information (i.e. from school, daycare, a doctor, Child Protective Services (CPS), the police, etc.).