It’s a scene from any number of made-for-TV movies: a cunning private detective captures photographs of the cheating spouse in the act. This is the first thought that often comes to mind when imagining the use of private investigation in a divorce matter. But there are numerous scenarios where a private investigator can prove useful in a divorce matter and just as many scenarios where there is no need for secret surveillance.
Many divorce petitioners learn the hard way that proving adultery is not as easy as they expected. No matter how strong your intuition may be, a hunch is not enough to prove your case in a court of law. For petitioners who feel that adultery is their only option for securing a divorce, private investigation may be a useful option. Investigators can provide specific information about your spouse’s whereabouts on particular dates. They may also be able to secure photographs of your spouse with another partner and provide you with the individual’s information.
If you find yourself in a situation where your spouse abandoned you and provided no contact information, a private investigator may assist in locating your spouse and securing necessary evidence, including:
- Your spouse’s living arrangements since leaving the marital home;
- Your spouse’s employment information;
- Any criminal matters that your spouse may have pending; and
- Evidence of drug or alcohol abuse.
Before the court can decide custody matters and distribute property, you must locate your spouse and serve him or her with notification about the divorce proceedings. A private investigator can help with this task.
Some individuals choose to hide their assets and financial information from their spouses, especially when they feel that divorce is possible. Some private investigators offer forensic accounting assistance, which is the location of hidden assets. These services can prove pricey, so you should be fairly certain that the assets in question are worth the cost.
Do You Need a Private Investigator?
In the state of Illinois, there are fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. Fault grounds require some degree of evidence to prove that the allegations you are making against your spouse are accurate and truthful. While family, friends and associates can provide testimony to the court, there is a risk that they may appear biased or noncredible. Many private investigators are used to testifying in court and their testimony is generally supported with documentation or pictures.
No-fault divorces generally do not require the same level of testimony and evidence. This applies when:
- Spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous two years;
- Irreconcilable differences have left the marriage irretrievably broken; and
- Efforts at reconciliation have failed.
If both spouses are in agreement on these grounds, as well any custody determinations and property distribution issues, there is no need to hire a private investigator.
If you are considering the services of a private investigator to assist with your divorce proceeding, it is best to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer. Contact an attorney at the Law Office of Elizabeth J. Chacko, P.C. today for a consultation. Serving clients in Naperville, Wheaton, and Downers Grove, our attorneys are ready to assist with all of your divorce needs.