Something is not right . . . should I hire a private investigator? By: Daniel Findling (c) 2014
When people think of a private investigator they might think of Magnum PI or an anonymous looking person sitting in a car, eating a cheese burger while trying to catch a cheating spouse in the act. Reality is not that dramatic.
When someone is struggling with their relationship, emotions often soar and feelings of self doubt, distrust and anxiety are not uncommon. Often a cheating spouse will fabricate excuses or place blame on the other for not being trusting compounding the mixed emotions. In an effort to reconcile the conflict, some hire a private investigator to provide comfort.
As a Michigan divorce attorney, I have mixed emotions regarding the hiring of a private investigator in a Michigan divorce.
A private investigator may help someone come to terms with their own emotions by substantiating the existence of an affair. I often question the notion that proof is necessary. If a couple is struggling with trust issues, is proof really necessary?
Suppose the private investigator substantiates an affair. Will the evidence drive a decision to get divorced? Maybe. Now suppose the private investigator cannot substantiate an affair? Does the lack of proof bring comfort to the struggling spouse? Rarely. The lack of “proof” typically brings more anxiety than comfort to the struggling spouse because the nature of the problem remains.
The evidence obtained by private investigators is typically in two forms. A video of an affair or a written report. I have also reviewed police reports obtained after a private investigator calls the police for indecent exposure (when someone is engaging in sex in a car). The video and/or police report are supposed to provide critical evidence to support a divorce case. However, evidence from a private investigator is rarely used in a Michigan divorce case. While fault can play a role in a Michigan divorce case, an affair rarely invokes a fault penalty. A fault penalty typically requires more than a cheating spouse.
For more information on fault and Michigan divorce see:
Proof of an affair can often be obtained without hiring a private investigator. A simple review of credit card charges and cell phone records may be enough. A dozen phone calls to one phone number or a charge for flowers or a hotel for unknown reasons is probably a cause for concern.
It is not uncommon for an affair to cost a lot of money and from a Michigan divorce lawyers perspective. Following the money trail for a dissolution of the marital estate subsequent to an affair is far more relevant than the existence of an affair alone.
If you or someone you know is struggling in a situation, I want to extend an invitation to discuss the legal aspects. We provide a free confidential consultation on Michigan divorce and family law issues. Our Michigan divorce and family law specialists practice Michigan divorce law and we are ready to help now.
About Findling Law
I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan for over two decades. The attorneys at Findling Law all share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles. We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances.
That is why we provide more free information on divorce and family law than any other Michigan law firm. We want to help you manage your situation. Allow our exceptional legal team to help you navigate the change in your life, without compromising principles.
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By: Daniel Findling