When you’re facing a child custody case, it can be one of the most stressful and emotional times in your life. It’s not only emotionally difficult but financially difficult as well.
There are a lot of considerations you have to keep in mind in these situations, and one of them is whether or not you’ll hire a private investigator. There are both pros and cons to consider when it comes to hiring a private investigator in a family law situation, and it’s important to be aware of these.
When Would You Consider Hiring a Private Investigator?
There are different situations in family law where you might think about hiring a private investigator.
For example, if you’re in the process of getting divorced, you may want to show a court that your spouse is cheating or could be engaging in some other type of behavior that might affect not only the custody proceedings but also divorce proceedings.
With a child custody case, you’re not going to find that a judge is going to revoke custody because of hearsay—evidence needs to be presented which is why some people may go with an investigator. An investigator can help provide valuable evidence you might not have access to otherwise.
As a parent, if you hire a private investigator, your primary goal is likely to protect your children.
A private investigator should typically only be hired if you truly believe your child is at risk or is in a potentially harmful situation.
Along with issues related to infidelity or childcare and custody, another family law-related matter that can lead some people to hire a private investigator is to determine if the other spouse could be hiding assets or income.
What Does a PI Do?
When it comes to family law issues, there are quite a few things a private investigator can and might do.
- Surveillance: This is primarily what we think of when we think about hiring a private investigator. Surveillance means that the private investigator will watch the other parent as they take care of the child or children. They may be able to make note of issues such as whether or not the other parent abuses drugs or alcohol, or how the other parent treats the child.
- Witness Statements: Some people work with a private investigator to get witness statements. This can include gathering the statements of a variety of independent witnesses who may have insight into the character and behavior of the other parent.
- Background Investigations: When a private investigator works on an issue related to child custody, they will usually do a background investigation of the other parent. This can include looking at things like their financial situation and whether or not they have a criminal record.
Hiring a Private Investigator
When you’re hiring a private investigator, you want to look for someone with experience in the areas that are likely to be most relevant in your case.
There are also different licensing requirements that can vary depending on the state you live in.
A private investigator doesn’t have certain rights in these situations either. For example, they can’t enter private property if they don’t have permission. To access certain records, they would likely need a subpoena.
As you’re hiring someone, consider the following:
- Does the person you’re thinking about hiring specialize in issues of child custody or family law like your own?
- How much experience do they have?
- Are they licensed and insured?
- Are they willing to testify in court?
- Are there any other people who might be working on the case?
- What is their availability like?
What Are the Benefits of a Private Investigator?
When you hire a private investigator along with the obvious benefit of uncovering certain information, there are other benefits as well.
First, a private investigator can help you obtain information legally so that you don’t risk getting in legal trouble or having something not be usable in court.
A private investigator can also testify as someone impartial and independent.
Private investigators aren’t emotionally invested in the situation as other witnesses might be, and they don’t have any particular bias.
Finally, the primary downside of hiring a private investigator is the cost, although it can be less than many other things related to custody and divorce proceedings. The other downside to making sure you keep in mind is the fact that it could make the relationship you have with the other parent more adversarial and could potentially eliminate the possibility of a co-parenting relationship.
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