Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Child Custody 

When the creation of a Florida parenting plan is at issue in a Miami child custody case, one tool available to the court to get to the bottom of the best interest of the child in the midst of he-said, she-said allegations is to order a social investigation. Who pays for it and who conducts it is specified in the Florida Statutes.

A social investigation involves review of all details relating to the child, including but not limited to the living conditions at each parent's home, the child's school and community record and activities (including interview of the child's teachers, coaches, friends, etc.) and interview of the child. The purpose of the social investigation is to report to the court all issues affecting the daily life of the child so the court can make a determination as to the best interest of the child in a Miami child custody case. 

Such investigation may be conducted by one of the following: 

1. Qualified staff of the court;

2. A child-placing agency licensed;

3. A licensed psychologist or a clinical social worker; or

4. A marriage and family therapist, or licensed mental health counselor

The parents are responsible for the cost of the social investigation, and the court may split the cost between the parents in accordance with their incomes. So, one parent may be ordered to pay more than the other parent because the he/she earns significantly more than the other parent. 

The social investigation influences the judge's decision when any part of the parenting plan is in dispute, so it is an important undertaking. Before you request a social investigation or if you have one coming up and want to be ready for it, you may benefit from a consultation with a Miami child custody attorney.