How To Use A Private Investigator In Your Divorce Case
The use of a private investigator in divorce cases is prevalent, but unless they have the correct guidance and experience, it will be a waste of your money.
One of the most active areas of practice for a private investigator (PI) is in Domestic Relations litigation. Investigators are not only used to catch a cheating spouse, but they can also help to document poor parenting decisions relevant to custody allegations. It is important that you and/or your attorney properly guide the investigation to ensure that the facts you need to prove your case are obtained quickly and cost effectively.
Our firm employs just a few experienced PI’s with whose work we are familiar and from whom we have gotten us good results in the past. Our investigators are retired law enforcement officers who have been trained in conducting surveillance and the use of sophisticated surveillance technology. They will climb trees in the middle of the night and set up wireless video camera’s to surveil the target of our investigation; they will follow their target at all times of the day and night and record their behavior; they will interview witnesses and gain written statements favorable to our client. But they can do none of this without the proper guidance and supervision.
First, if at all possible, we recommend hiring an investigator prior to the filing of a lawsuit. This will provide a better chance to catch your spouse when they are not on their best behavior. Once an action for divorce has been commenced and your spouse retains an attorney, your spouse will follow their attorney’s advice and be on their best behavior.
Second, you must provide your attorney any facts supporting your claims. In other words, if you suspect your spouse of adultery, it would be very helpful if you had some information supporting your suspicions, such as texts or emails. This will give your private investigator a lead with which to get started. Otherwise you will likely be paying your private investigator to randomly follow your spouse in the hopes of finding some kind of incriminating evidence.
Finally, make sure that you don’t tell anyone that you hired a private investigator. In the age of social media, the control of information is more important than ever before. An innocent statement to a friend while sipping margaritas at the pool can be instantly shared with thousands on Facebook, and your private investigator’s cover will be blown! Until your private investigator completes their investigation, no one should know that you have hired him or her. This will allow your investigator to do their work discretely and you will have the best chance of getting the evidence that you need.
We recommend that you hire a private investigator through your attorney. Attorneys have established working relationships with their PI’s. The PI’s know what kind of work we want, how we want it and when we want it. However, if you are not sure if you should proceed with a divorce and don’t want to hire an attorney until you have more evidence, here is a good article about things you should consider when hiring a PI without first retaining an attorney.
A good private investigator can make or break your case. But like anything, you must be actively engaged in the process and give clear guidance in order to have the best chance of getting what you need.