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The role of a social investigation in a parenting plan dispute

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2024 | Parenting Plans |

When parents are unable to agree on a parenting plan, the Florida court has an essential tool at its disposal to help resolve the dispute. This tool is a social investigation, which can play a pivotal role in how the court decides on the parenting plan. 

But what exactly is a social investigation? Who conducts it and what impact can it have on the outcome of the dispute?

The purpose and process of a social investigation

When the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, a court can order a social investigation. Following the order, designated investigators, which could include court staff, licensed child-placing agencies, psychologists and other qualified individuals, start gathering information. 

The goal of the investigation is to collect all relevant details about the child and each parent. This could include gathering information on: 

  • The parents’ living conditions and lifestyles 
  • The child’s relationship with each parent 
  • The ability of each parent to meet the child’s needs 
  • Any other factors that might affect the child’s well-being 

These investigators visit the parents’ homes, conduct interviews and review relevant documents like school records or medical reports. They work to ensure a thorough, professional and unbiased investigation.

The impact of a social investigation on a dispute

After the investigation, the court reviews its findings to determine the parenting plan. The information from the social investigation, including its recommendations, helps establish how parents will share time with the child. 

It also guides how parents split responsibilities for the child’s daily routine and other vital parts of childcare. 

A fair and balanced plan

A social investigation is crucial in a court’s decision-making process. Without it, the court might not fully understand the child’s situation or the dynamics of the dispute. This could lead to decisions that may not be the best for the child. However, with information from a thorough social investigation, the court can make better decisions. This way, whether crafting a final parenting plan or modifying an existing one, the court can ensure it best meets the child’s needs and supports their well-being.