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Using A Private Investigator in Divorce: Is It Like the Movies?


We’ve all seen it happen in the movies: a couple is getting a divorce, and one party just knows their spouse is doing something a little unsavory – and they want to get to the bottom of it. To do so, they hire a private investigator who follows their spouse around and gets some pretty salacious information. It helps them gain leverage and a monetary advantage in the divorce proceedings or custody litigation and everything works out in the end. Sounds familiar, right? You may even have friends who have gone down this road.

But is using a private investigator during divorce in Atlanta really the way it appears in the movies? At Buckhead Family Law, we’re here to tell you the answer is …not exactly.

How Can A Private Investigator Help During A Divorce?

Private investigators are often hired during a divorce to help determine if there was an extramarital affair, if someone is hiding money, or if there is something darker at play. Private investigators can do a lot of sleuthing, both in person and online, to find out what someone is really up to. However, they are not permitted to break any laws or do anything to put your ex in danger during their quest.

So, why hire a PI? There are many reasons why people enlist PI services. They can set up your ex to admit guilt to something, find out if they are hiding money somewhere, or determine if they are unfit to have custody of their children.

If you are going to hire a PI during your divorce, it’s best not to tell anyone. As sad as it may sound, you really can’t trust anyone with this information because you never know who could leak the information back to your ex. Other than your attorney, who is bound by attorney-client privilege, secrecy is your best plan of attack.

Who Hires the Private Investigator?

You can enlist the services of a private investigator yourself, but you will want to talk to your lawyer first, as there can be benefits to having your divorce attorney engage the private investigator directly. Not only can an attorney help you to determine whether or not a private investigator is warranted in your divorce proceedings, but they can also help you to find a professional with a good reputation who can obtain pertinent information that will be beneficial to your case.

Can You Do Research on Your Own?

Of course, you can do some research on your own to find out if your spouse has been cheating on you, hiding money, or doing something else that could impact the outcome of your divorce. You must be mindful however, of laws regarding invasion of privacy, so consult with your divorce attorney first.  However, using a private investigator during your divorce or custody action can save you a bunch of time and potential headaches. It is also advantageous because PIs provide documentation, proof, and clout before a judge. Having proof from an independent third-party source can be extremely convincing and beneficial.

Of course, you also have to think about the fact that someone could hire a private investigator in your divorce against you – so ensure that your own behavior is above reproach as well.

Food for Thought

Another thing to consider is that some private investigators are quite expensive, so the ends need to outweigh the means. It may seem like a good idea to put a lot of cash out now, just to come out “on top” in the divorce, but what does that really mean? Put some careful consideration into whether or not you will get a real added benefit from adding a private investigator to your divorce team.

If you are getting a divorce in Georgia and you have questions about using a private investigator, do not hesitate to reach out to us at Buckhead Family Law. Our experienced legal team is here to present you with your most beneficial legal options and help you to move on with your life quickly while still getting what you justly deserve. We are here to assist you as you begin the next chapter of your life. Schedule a consultation today by calling at 404-600-1403.

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