When should I consider using a private investigator?

Private investigator in divorceIn the midst of a divorce or family law matter, many wonder when they should consider using a private investigator for their case.  Many wonder whether a private investigator will help?  Or whether it would just be another expense that might not move the needle in their case?

This is difficult question to answer and the answer can largely vary based on the case and the jurisdiction.  However, below are some general criteria that one might consider in trying to answer this question.

In divorce, states have now generally shifted to no-fault divorces in terms of what somebody has to show to get divorced.  This means that, generally speaking, the parties only need to show a marriage is irretrievably broken and that there is no reasonable likelihood for it be saved.

In saying that, in some states, conduct of the parties during the marriage can still be a factor that courts can consider as it relates to property and debt division.  It can also be a factor that courts can consider, in some states, as it relates to spousal maintenance/alimony.

So, to get divorced, parties generally do not have to show a conduct element to justify the divorce.  But showing conduct could still be a basis as to the overall outcome in some states.  But this is certainly not universal.  In many states, conduct has been taken out altogether as a consideration as it relates to property and debt division or spousal support/maintenance.

Missouri and Illinois really hit home this dichotomy.  In Missouri, conduct is still one factor as it relates to property and debt division and spousal maintenance, while in Illinois, it is not a factor that can be considered.

Conduct of the parties can also still come into play as it relates to child custody.  This is particularly  true if somebody’s conduct would have a bearing on the best interests of the children.  And as it relates to hidden issues, a private investigator may be able to help locate them if they exist.

So, when one asks whether a private investigator can help in their case, a lot of the issues referenced below will weigh in the analysis.  In other words:

  • Are you in a state where conduct is a factor that can be considered?
  • Do you think the conduct of the other party has a bearing on child custody?
  • And, do you think assets have been hidden and not disclosed in a divorce?

If the answer is “yes” to one or more of these questions, it might be a worthy question to ask of your attorney in terms of whether a private investigator should be used in your case.  In some cases, you might be able to get the evidence you need without a private investigator.  In other cases, you may need the help of a private investigator to present your case.

If you are going through a divorce or family law matter and considering the use of a private investigator, you can call Stange Law Firm, at 1-855-805-0595.

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