Why Hire a Private Detective?

Interestingly, the topic of using a private detective during divorce hasn’t come up much during my interviews, perhaps that’s not surprising since I try to focus on life after divorce and not life during divorce. Nevertheless, I suspect that quite a number of my readers are people who are considering divorce or may be in the midst of the legal process and may even be wondering if a private detective could help them. Here to answer that question is today’s guest post from Jonathon Rodriguez:

Why Hire a Private Detective?

Whether you are currently involved in a divorce or child custody case, hiring a private investigator might be the difference between failure and success. A private detective is a professional at gathering facts that are admissible in court – which hold up during interrogation, rather than hearsay or innuendo. He or she will gather documents and witnesses that your spouse is in the wrong.

Hiring a private detectiveWhile many people will consider instigating an investigation when infidelity is concerned, it can also be effective in child custody cases for visitation rights, discovering abuse, contempt cases, establishing that your spouse is hiding property or finances and determining the truth about assets, income and employment.

Private investigators are beneficial in discovering hidden assets because they have access to select databases and records – records that the average individual cannot find. While you may know about bank accounts with your name attached, an investigator may find your spouse has multiple accounts with hidden money and chances are a PI can find this out much quicker than you can.

Another common use for a detective is in uncovering infidelity. While you may have your suspicions, a professional can act on your instincts to uncover facts. Even if you have nothing more than your own intuition, or maybe a few hotel receipts or restaurant bills, an unknown number on your phone bill or changed work hours, a detective can discover what is really happening and that may be critical in a custody battle.

For individuals with children, hiring an investigator may be more of a necessity particularly if you have concerns about your spouse’s behavior towards your children, such as possible abuse or neglect. Perhaps your spouse is an alcoholic or the living conditions aren’t proper for your children. You need hard evidence to support your claim for increased or sole custody and that evidence could be very be challenging for you to secure on your own.

How to Hire a Private Detective

Know that hiring a private detective will likely to put more strain on your divorce, and it is an added expense. Only you will know if that additional expense is worth it. As with hiring any professional there are key criteria to check:

  • Always check whether the person has a license. While this is a necessity for many states, you should do your own research and ask to see a copy of his or her license.
  • Carefully consider the contract. It should state in writing exactly what services you expect them to undertake and what their fees are for such services. You do not want any surprises.
  • If you are looking at private investigators that charge hourly rates (as many of them do), ask for an estimate on how many hours they will devote to your case.
  • Ask for references. Many private detectives will refer you to past clients, and if they don’t, you might want to consider someone else. After all, an investigator with little real-life experience might not be the best for your case.
  • Ask to see their liability insurance and proof of bonding. If the detective happens to damage anyone’s property while on your case, you do not want to be liable. If they have insurance, look over their coverage to make sure it is adequate.

Work closely with your lawyer. Your lawyer can let the detective know what sort of evidence would be beneficial to your case, rather than spending time and money on something that will not add any value. Make sure you are completely upfront with your detective. It might seem embarrassing to air your dirty laundry, but it is important that you are completely honest and tell them all the details that might help. If you have any concerns, make sure you bring them up with both your attorney and your private investigator.

The Divorce Coach Says:

I have had some experience working with a private detective in a previous work capacity and I know that the gentleman I used had access to subscription databases. It was definitely less expensive and faster for my employer to pay the detective than pay for the database subscription and have me fumble my way around.

Your attorney should be a great resource for referrals and that’s a good way of making sure you hire someone with the skills you need. A forensic accountant is going to help uncover hidden assets but may not have the skills for surveillance. But be careful what you ask for. One of my guests, Debbie used a computer data recovery expert to retrieve information from the family computer that her husband had “deleted.” The evidence he uncovered told Debbie that her husband’s infidelity was much worse than she suspected and it was a reality she could not ignore.

Have you used a PI? Why? Did you act on the information that was uncovered? Did it make your divorce harder? Was it worth it?

Jonathan Rodriguez is an expert in the field of private investigation and is associated with North American Investigations.  A proven track record of successful cases springs from his law enforcement heritage that goes back three generations.  He has several certificates of completion including (but not limited to) Combat Focus Shooting, Advance Techniques of Personal Security and Advanced Executive Protection Tactics.  There’s no case too small or “unimportant.”  As a father of 3 children, Jonathan’s interest in child welfare is evident in his workload.  He has effectively solved cases involving missing children and believes that a nations strength begins within the walls of the home.

Photo credit: newhousedesign

  • http://twitter.com/mightbeatranny might be a tranny if

    have used a PI.  it was difficult to admit that it had gotten to that point, but once i did it i wished i’d done it  sooner.  i would recommend hiring someone for a specific amount of time, say a specific weekend (when they ill be alone) or lunch time m-f for a week.  that way, of you aren’t happy with their work you are already done and don’t have to fire them.  who wants to be on bad terms w/ a PI?  the first one i got was not great.  but he did one thing that was AWESOME; we put a GPS on my husbands car.  then i could log in online and see where he was going.  this told me that he was traveling around from hotel to hotel to gay bar to gay bar and then to hotel, for a 48 hour period.  showed him going to different apartments in bad areas of town (known for drug dealing) and things like that.  i think it was $1,500.  but that PI kept losing him in crowds, and wasn’t giving me any more info than what i was getting from the GPS.  so i hired another one that my attorney recommended.  i was specifically looking for him to do things that were dangerous for our children, because we were in the middle of a custody fight at this point.  that PI was a former police officer.

    i think what the PI gave me was the ability to say “yes, he really was THAT BAD.  i had to leave, this marriage was way beyond help”.

    • Anonymous

      Might be a tranny – thank you for sharing this. Yes, sometimes, we need that black and white evidence to stop making allowances. Did you ex know eventually that you had hired a PI? How did react?

      • http://twitter.com/mightbeatranny might be a tranny if

        he found out in court, when my attorney announced that i had hired a PI who discovered that “Respondent (was) a transvestite”.  His attorney IMMEDIATELY responded with, “He’s in psycotherapy your honor, he’s getting counseling”.  no reaction from anyone else.  not a look, eye brow raise; nothing.  and there were about a dozen people in the court room in addition to the court staff.

        later he found the GPS.  he was furious.  in the custody evaluators office he called me a “poor excuse for a human being”.  uh-huh.  gathering evidence of your lies is right up there with pretending to be heterosexual and faithful. 

        one other thought for people looking for information; the gps on the car of the person your thinking of having followed.  after i left i was sitting in our car one day and thought, “hey, i wonder if this thing has a history”.  it did.  i called a firend and she was looking up the addresses off of our car GPS on her computer.  it didn’t have dates on it, but it was in order, so i could tell about when things were.  his activities were consistent with what the GPS the PI put on the car found.  this let me know that it was in no way an experiment or a new thing; it was his secret life.

        • Anonymous

          I’m surprised he was furious but he was keeping it from you and expecting you to live a lie. I don’t think I’d have qualms about hiring a PI to protect myself.

  • Grace

    I hired a PI during my divorce on the advice of my forensic accountant.  He couldn’t ever track my husband down to follow him, so the evidence of cheating came from stuff I found by going to my husband’s office late one night.  And while he found assets that were in the country, the ones hidden overseas, well, they stayed hidden.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Grace – great to hear from you. I’m surprised they weren’t able to track the overseas assets but as you said before, your ex was smart and he was determined. Hope you’re doing well.

  • Rosa Noel

    I think that is a good idea if you’re involved in a divorce or child custody, but it doesn’t mean that you’ll win the case. My cousin hired a private investigator in her divorce case. He didn’t find out where her husband is, the only thing he knows it’s that he’s not in the country! It’s sad, but what we can do?

    • http://sincemydivorce.com Mandy Walker

      Maybe she did win, just not in the way she was expecting?

  • Andres

    I’m a Private Investigator in Fort Myers FL;

    I get hire because a Client wants to make a decision base
    on facts.

    The truth may be painful, however necessary in our search
    for happiness.


  • LU

    Hi there.
    i would like to know?
    if you can find out things from Russian country? or would i need to get someone from there.

    • http://sincemydivorce.com Mandy Walker

      Hi Lu – sorry – I can’t help you with that question. I suggest you contact some private detectives and asked them directly.

  • crystal alexander

    i need to know the price for a detective i think my husband is trying to pay people to kill me for life insurance money that i didnt sign for.

    • http://sincemydivorce.com Mandy Walker

      You’ll need to contact a private investigator in your local area but .. if you’re seriously concerned for your safety then I urge you to go to your local domestic violence/abuse organization and/or your local police. Please! You must get help.

    • It’s just Me

      Oh gosh! Are you okay? Did you hire a pi?

  • The Apogean Group

    Mandy I would like to know if I could link to your site .. I am female private investigator in Dallas Texas .. and would like post some of your stuff .. Pi Paula ..

  • deborah

    my father and I have had a problem for many yrs now because I let my husband and left mass and came to calf with another man. over the yrs our problem has gotten to the point that we have gone without talking for long periods. Today he called me and said he has hired a PI on me. He has called a lawyer incase something happens to him so my mom with be taken care of. He has made my life a living hell. Is that legal for him to hire a PI? what are my rights?