One of the perks of being a divorce attorney is you get to be acquainted with a number of other people who have really cool jobs. This post is about Private Investigators (PIs), when to use them and what they need from you.
I have previously posted of some of the potential warning signs of an affair. (click here) If you have suspicions that your spouse may be having an affair it may be wise to hire a PI. A PI can follow your spouse, take pictures, document their whereabouts and identify third persons that your spouse may be with. In addition to adultery situations, PIs may also be useful in locating hard-to-find persons/witnesses and even completing service of process. A PI can also play a role in custody cases in documenting the other parent’s living conditions, if a third-party is sleeping over and the other parent’s comings and goings.
PIs have come a long way from hiding in the bushes snapping pictures, though it still happens. There are hi-tech means of surveillance, GPS tracking abilities and computer forensics which can discover that nothing is truly deleted!
Here’s a starter list to provide a PI in the event you choose to hire one.
- Pictures of who they are to follow.
- Pictures and tag # of the car(s) they are to follow.
- Where that person works and normal office hours.
- Where that person hangs out, works out and/or chills out.
- The usual routine; ie: on Wednesdays he always goes to Buffalo Wild Wings.
- Address of the home and anywhere else the person may be staying.
- List of suspected paramour(s).
- Any and all information you have about paramour(s).
- Your usual routine, too. Knowing this the PI may be able to catch you-know-who where they should not be when you are at the Wednesday evening service.
Talk to the PI about fees. These are not covered in attorney fees. PIs usually charge a retainer and bill by the hour and for mileage. Be careful about having your spouse followed to New Orleans, it may not be worth it if you don’t get the goods. Also, make sure the PI generates a report, pictures and will testify in Court, if necessary.
The use of a PI is discoverable in litigation, which means if you use one and are asked about it you will have to disclose it. Stay tuned for a blog about what to do if you think you are being followed.
Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney that leaves the private investigation to the PIs, but does review the pictures and videos from the investigations, as it is required by his job!
You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@wmtlawfirm.com.