In a child custody battle, each parent wants to take primary custody of the child and since the court wants to decide based on what is in the best interests of the child, the judge may order for a home inspection of both parents or any other party that is seeking for custody. This is to ensure that the home environment where the child will live is safe and comfortable.
A home inspection can be done by any party that is chosen by the court and in most cases, the court may use the Child Protective Services (CPS), Guardian ad Litem, or Court Appointed Special Advocates like DCFS (dept. Child Family Services). After the inspection is made, a report is made and presented to the judge to be used during the case.
Either party in a child custody case may also choose to have a private home inspector who is an expert in the field. This report may work to counter the report that was given to the judge in case some issues are contentious about the home environment.
If you are battling a child custody case and you aren’t aware of what the home inspectors are coming to do, here is a checklist to help you prepare. Of course, it can also work if you are a caseworker and have been assigned to inspect the home and want to draft a checklist to help you in your report. Below are some of the things to check during a home inspection.
This is the general overview of the home in terms of hygiene. A home inspector will report everything that touches on the cleanliness of the environment, whether they are dog or cat feces, litter all over the place, and the cleanliness of the toilets among other places.
This is generally everything that touches on cleanliness. The inspector will also check on bathrooms, kitchen, and the outdoor environment and make a report on whatever he or she finds clean or unclean in the home environment.
On cleanliness still, a home should have proper waste disposal and this is what a home inspector will check. How do the members of the family dispose of the waste materials? This is a great concern since it is vital when it comes to cleanliness.
The clothes are also part of the consideration. If there is a pile of dirty clothes all over the rooms, then that would be a minus, especially if the child’s clothes are dirty and have never been taken care of for a long time.
The bedroom condition is also one of the things to check. The appearance of the bedroom and how it is organized will make way into the report of an inspector. Some of the things that an inspector will check in the bedroom are generally beddings like blankets, bed, mattresses, sheets, and their conditions.
A child’s bedroom should be well-organized, clean, and neat. The bedroom environment should also be well ventilated for safety. If there are bunk beds in a child’s bedroom, they should have rails to prevent them from falling and if they do not, that may be considered unsafe for the child.
In addition to that, the kid’s bedroom should not have lockable doors or own bathrooms. Therefore, as a parent preparing for inspection, you should ensure that the bedroom environment is clean, safe, organized, and comfortable for the child or children.
Safety is a priority consideration when it comes to matters of child custody. If the home environment is not safe for the child or children, there are high chances that you may lose your case. Safety starts from the environment and the inspector would check for the burnt hazards, drug paraphernalia, fire hazards, choking hazards, chemicals, and weapons.
If the home environment is not safe, then that can be captured in the report, and so as the other way round. A safe home environment is a plus in your custody battle.
Kitchen and Food
One of the concerns before a child custody decision is made is whether a parent can cater to the child’s needs. That is basic needs including food, clothing, and shelter. When it comes to inspecting the kitchen and food, a home with plenty of food supplies is considered good for the child.
A home inspector would list the food items in the fridge and if well-stocked with fruits, cereals, bread, and milk among other supplies, that will be considered more suitable for the child than when the fridge is dry and empty. If there is a garden with fresh food, vegetables, and fruits, that becomes a plus for the parent.
When it comes to pets, there are several things to check. These include pet messes, the health of your pets, shedding of fur, and litter boxes. For pets that are indoors, proper management should be put in place to ensure that they are clean and there are no messes on the floor or carpet. In addition to that, pets should not have fleas or ticks as that would be a negative when it comes to a child custody case.
This is the general environment surrounding the home. The inspector will check the level of pollution in the surrounding area, whether the home is located next to a busy road or not, and if so, whether the compound is fenced or not, and whether there is a lockable gate or not.
The outdoor environment would also involve things like water bodies, and if there is a dam or a water borehole, is it fenced and safe for the child? These are some of the few things that a home inspector would check to cover everything that would serve the best interests of the child.
As we mentioned, a CPS worker or any other person that has been assigned by the court to inspect a home would make a report after the inspection and present it to the judge for consideration. Therefore, if you are a parent and battling a child custody case, you should always ensure that the home environment is suitable, comfortable, and safe for the child. It should be clean, safe, and with plenty of healthy food among other things as we have discussed above.