Hiring a private investigator may seem like an extravagant move when leaving your marriage, but in some cases it can mean the difference between winning and losing in battles over money and children. Hiring a private eye during your divorce might sound invasive, but it is a perfectly practical way of protecting yourself (without having to sneak around on your own).
Reasons to Hire a PI
1. Find Hidden Money
Private investigators are beneficial in discovering hidden assets because they have access to select databases and records that the average person won’t find. While you may know about bank accounts with your name attached, an investigator may quickly find your spouse has secret accounts with hidden money.
2. Prove Infidelity
You may know that your spouse is cheating, but you’ll need proof if you want this to help you in your divorce. If you’re getting a divorce regardless of whether infidelity occurs, you should still find out about — and prove — your spouse’s adultery, as it certainly won’t hurt your case when it comes to collecting or paying spousal support. While a private investigator can’t access your spouse’s phone records, they may have the skills necessary to recover deleted internet communication that proves infidelity. Since you’ve given the permission to access the family computer, this information is admissible in court.
3. Win a Custody Battle
A videotape showing your spouse overly intoxicated or driving recklessly while dropping the kids off at school could help you out with custody. Even without a video, a private investigator could call the police upon catching your spouse in the act of doing something illegal.
How to Hire Private Detective
- Check for identification and certification. Run a background check on your investigator, and don’t hire from a suspicious website. You could be liable for your investigator’s illegal acts.
- Have a specific contract. Know exactly what your investigator is providing and what you will be paying for those services. A good PI will tell you what they are doing; beware of private investigators who refuse to reveal their sources or methods. They may be violating the law–exposing you to liability.
- Ask for references. Better yet, hire based on referrals from your friends. Interview your potential hire and talk about past cases where a client was helped by the services.
- Check for liability insurance. If your investigator damages someone’s property while on the job, you could be liable; make sure the one you hire has adequate coverage.
- Note that, while your PI should know what information is inadmissible in court, you should check with an attorney before blabbing to a judge that someone has been snooping on your spouse. Make sure information is retrieved legally — and know whether retrieving certain information legally is even possible before you hire someone to help you.