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Background check/Invasion of privacy?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I just joined and I already love this site. Everything people say is so helpful to me. And I have realized that as hopeless as my situation may seem to be at times, I know others are having a harder time. It gives me strength to keep going on. to all.

I have wanted to background check my two DSD's mom for some time now. I want to be prepared when the time comes for court (currently there are no court orders, she visits once a month if she decides she wants to see them). She has had multiple addresses where the children have been brought to, and around a few different guys in the short time she has left.

Also, I want to know everything/anything about her because she is their mother. Maybe odd since she isn't pleasant with STBHusband and certainly not with me . But I have an issue with paperwork and being as prepared as possible about important things.

So, anyways, question. Is it an invasion of privacy to do a background check on her by an online site? I don't want to do anything that will reflect negatively on myself and hubby in court. And if anyone has done one, which site do you recommend using that is fairly accurate?

Thanks so much in advance!
post #2 of 7
I would seriously rethink this, were I you. For starters, Dad has status quo, if it goes to court, since the children live with him and Mom doesn't see them all that much.

Secondly, a judge is likely to look askance at him for having a background check done on her now, after he's already chosen to have two children by her - unless something heinous came up that is recent, the judge may well think that Dad should have known her character before impregnating her. Twice.

A judge is likely to look even more askance at your initiating this action since you are, legally, a stranger to this situation.

I would leave it be. JMO.
post #3 of 7
Idle curiosity - wanting to "get to know her" - is a poor reason to violate her privacy with a b/g check.

I'm not criticizing, mind you! I know well the itch to seek answers to inexplicable questions: What in her background explains how she can stand to spend so much time away from her kids? How could she have wanted to leave my wonderful husband/fiance? Or, what is it that caused him to leave her? Is there something about this woman's messed-up connection with her children that I should try to fix? But that's not your job and you're not going to adequately satisfy the question what makes her tick by getting her criminal history, past addresses and known associates.

Court is a whole different matter. If you anticipate a custody battle and you're confident the girls are better-off with your fiance, then you should absolutely arm yourselves with any and all pertinent information, as well as prepare to explain or defend any accusations she might make about him and his background. It might be reasonable to do a B/G check on both of them. But custody would be his battle. It can be extremely time-consuming, so it's great if you're willing to help him with research, etc. But nothing you do should be independent of him, or initiated without discussion with him.

And, no, you don't want a B/G check used in court to indicate that you sought it. Even if you actually make the time to sit in front of the computer on your fiance's behalf, use his name, credit card, etc. You don't want to look like you're plotting against his ex before you've even married him. The court will expect a certain level of hostility between parents fighting for custody. But if you appear hostile and aggressive toward the mother, it will make a judge wonder whether the girls receive negative messages about their mother, when they're at their Dad's house.

Is a private investigator significantly more expensive than those internet sites - I mean, if you're only interested in a routine B/G check, not having the ex followed and photographed? With a web site, there's no guarantee what you're going to get for your money. With a P/I, at least there's a human being to confront, if you're disappointed with the extent of information you receive. Also, depending on what you want to know, you should check what info. you can get simply through public information. Arrest records, police reports, Protective Order requests, etc. are matters of public record. In some jurisdictions, you can get such things online.
post #4 of 7
A background check that will be brought up in court is something for your lawyer to decide/initiate. That said, if you ran one and never told a soul except DH about it, I don't see how anybody would ever find out. But if you found info that you wanted to use in court, you'd need to come up with another credible way of having discovered that info - like a cehck run by your lawyer after you'd retained him/her.

If you want to help your DH and your DSDs to achieve a stable, legally binding custody arrangement, then start saving up $$ for a lawyer.

And good for you for caring!!! Your DSDs are lucky to have a stepmom who truly wants them around.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
The pregnancy is a whole other story, kind of like a fool me once shame on me thing. But if it weren't for her we wouldn't have them.

I would never do anything regarding the DSDs without his knowledge and permission, even though he has told me he has complete trust in me with our family. I am still trying to figure out this thin line of being a mom/step mom and the boundaries, especially since for now, legally I am a nothing to DSDs.

I wanted it most of all for the proof of addresses because in the self help court forms it asks for the other parent's addresses and length of time at each place to show/not show stability for the DSDs.
I've tried looking in public records but maybe I'm just missing it or not looking in the right place. Everything I've found for address history is with the background check.

She filed a fake claim for custody/visitation and that's what brought all of this up. And we want to be like 200% prepared, no chance of losing since everyone keeps telling me our state is a mother state.

We'll keep saving for the lawyer and sort all this out when time gets closer to the real battle.

Thanks everyone, your input helps me very much!
post #6 of 7
Sorry to be difficult (I'm a custodial step-mom, too, so I completely understand the desire for stability, certainty, preparedness in your family!), but I just noticed how young your step-daughters are. Certainly, if Mom is flaky enough to not spend much time with them when they're so little, your husband is almost certainly the right parent to have custody and you guys should do what's needed to preserve that. BUT the girls are certainly young enough to build a better relationship with their Mom, if that's what Mom really wants, with her sudden interest in custody. It's not like they've suffered a decade of abuse and rejection from her. If she starts having more regular contact with them now, the 2-year-old will never remember a time when she was a crummier parent and the 4-year-old barely will. Remember to balance the need to protect your family against your responsibility to facilitate a relationship between these girls you love and their other parent, if that other parent wants it. That's a hard, hard thing. You can definitely find support here!
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
She pretended to file for custody because DF told her no to something and she wanted to bully him into giving her what she wanted. Then later told him she wasn't ready and wanted to drop the whole thing.

I do hope she becomes a better parent because I do think the girls need to know her. And I've told her that I'd like for us to be able to be civil because it'd be in the girls' best interest and I was never trying to replace her as their mother.

Someday it'll happen.
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