Would you believe your spouse is cheating?  Would you like to know why there seems to be a lot of money missing?  Is there a good reason to file for divorce?  It may be that the best way to find out is to hire a private investigator.

What is a private investigator?

Private investigators deskIn Tennessee, a private investigator is a licensed professional who must must be affiliated with a licensed Tennessee Private Investigators Company.  These individuals can provide you with photographs, recordings, videos, and names of people your spouse has been in contact with when you’re not around.

Your divorce lawyer may also use an investigator to perform background checks on your spouse and his paramour, search for hidden property or bank accounts, determine if property had been deliberately destroyed, or even analyze a hard drive to look for hidden emails and web browsing.

A private investigator can also testify at your divorce hearing, giving first-hand testimony of what he saw and heard your spouse doing.  A particularly sneaky investigator may even pose as a stranger and strike up a conversation with your spouse.  While doing so, they will record the conversation as your partner unwittingly gives them useful information.

The use of private investigators can extend beyond the divorce.  After the divorce is long over, issues often arise around custody, child support or alimony.  If you suspect your former spouse is treating the children poorly, a PI can gather evidence of where the children are being taken, what kind of people they’re exposed to, or whether your former spouse is having overnight guests during visitation with the children.

Furthermore, after the divorce, alimony can often be terminated or reduced if your former spouse is living with or being supported by someone.  Your private investigator can observe the residence and determine who appears to be residing at the house.

Private investigator limitations

In Tennessee, there are a few things your investigator may not do.  We have laws forbidding the taking of photographs in an area where people have a “reasonable expectation of privacy”, if the photographs would embarrass an ordinary person if they were pictured in a similar way.  This means your investigator won’t be placing a camera in the bedroom to catch your spouse in the actual act of adultery.

Also, in Tennessee it is illegal to use a GPS device to track a vehicle without the consent of all the owners.  So, while the technology is available to keep a log of where the car has been, your private investigator probably won’t be able to use it as evidence in your divorce.

What you need to know

Proving adultery, abuse, or some other behavior can be difficult, and “just knowing” your spouse is up to something isn’t enough.  Photographs, videos, and an eye witness are worth a lot in a divorce proceeding.

Before you hire a private investigator, you should talk to your attorney about the potential benefit to your divorce case.  It may be to your advantage to have your attorney hire the investigator directly, rather than deal with it yourself.

As always, if you have any of these problems and believe you may need an attorney, feel free to contact me.  I’d be happy to discuss how I can help you.