Hiring a private investigator can be useful in many contested and high-conflict divorce cases. Before you make a decision, there are some basics to learn about PIs and how they can help you. A Greenville, SC family law attorney can answer questions you may have concerning private investigators and whether you need one.
A private investigator is not just for divorces involving adultery allegations. They can gather a wealth of information about the other party which may be used in many ways. For example, you may consider hiring a PI in these types of cases:
Disputed custody claims. A PI can look into unhealthy living conditions for your child or exposure to unsafe third parties. This information is particularly helpful where one party is seeking to require supervised visitation. But you can also use a PI to find out just how involved the other parent is with your child. If the other party is too busy to be an attentive parent, you can contest their desire for more custody.
Alcohol or drug abuse. One obvious use for this information is in custody cases. However, alcohol and drug abuse can be evidence of a spouse’s waste of marital assets. This is useful inequitable distribution claims when courts decide how to divide property and debts. Many spouses claim they cannot afford alimony or child support payments, but spend freely on drugs and alcohol. Having proof of this spending helps your Greenville, SC family law attorney build a case.
Your spouse is hiding assets. Another common issue in equitable distribution is when one spouse is suspected of concealing property. Over the course of a marriage, one partner may quietly spend marital assets on things the other doesn’t know about. When it’s time to divide property, a Greenville, SC court needs to know about everything belonging to the marital estate. An investigator can uncover this.
Your spouse is hiding income. Not all spouses are forthright with each other about all of the money they earn, even in the best marriages. This is particularly problematic when alimony and child support claims arise. Spouses and parents must honestly report their sources of income, but they often misrepresent this information in court. A private investigator can help your Greenville, SC family lawyer hold the other party accountable.
The typical services offered by a private investigator include:
- Surveillance and fact-finding
- Background information on the other party or third parties
- Objective witness statements that can go a long way in court
South Carolina statutes require, among other things, that private investigators be licensed and post a $10,000 bond. Investigators must enter into written contracts with their clients and specify whether a written report will be issued. These reports must detail the hours spent and provide the results of the investigation. PIs must report criminal activity to state law enforcement and cannot engage in illegal activity themselves. You can find out more about the requirements of private investigators by speaking to a Greenville, SC family law attorney.
You can help your PI by preparing information about the opposing party or the details you are looking for. A PI will uncover whatever he or she naturally finds, but let the investigator know why you need them. If the person needs to follow your spouse, provide basics such as the identity of his or her vehicle. Also give such information to the investigator as the places your spouse is known to frequent. Consider hiring a PI before filing your case, and don’t tell family or friends you are doing so. Talk to your Greenville, SC family law attorney on how best to use one.
We’re Here to Help Your Family Law Case
Regardless of what your private investigator uncovers, we’re here to help. Not all investigations yield useful facts, but many reveal information that can make or break a family law case. Talk to Greenville Family Law about whether your case can benefit from a PI.