I have been a Private Investigator for over 20 years and have successfully worked on hundreds of infidelity cases. Each case is unique and each presents new challenges and obstacles. I will share with you my insight and recommendations on a successful infidelity investigation. In addition, I will discuss how infidelity investigations correlate with divorce proceedings and many misconceptions.What makes infidelity investigations one of the most complex types of investigation for private investigators are the emotions involved. Feelings of infidelity produce high stress levels and cause disruptions in households and work, not to mention the negative effects it has on your health. Often these emotions are harbored for long periods of time under suspicions, arguments and feelings of doubt.Whenever a client comes to my office for a usually lengthy consultation, I can feel the raw emotions and high stress of these individuals. Often, these individuals have kept all what is going on to themselves and once they are in a private and discreet setting unload all what they are feeling.
To put it broadly, there are two types of clients. First being the one that has their suspicions and have started to plan accordingly to either confirm or negate them. They have not confronted their spouses or have previously hired a private investigator. The second type of individual are those that have had their suspicions for a long period of time and have confronted their spouse about it (causing higher stress for the household), possibly have done their own investigation, threatened to hire a private investigator or have in fact hired someone who may have not been successful.
Of course, from a private investigator’s perspective, the first type of client is best for an investigation. It allows the investigation to be more efficient, discreet and deliver results faster because the subject of the investigation is relaxed, not suspicious about surveillance, allowing the investigator to obtain better results with the least number of hours. On the other hand, individuals who would fall under category type two.
After we go over the history and suspicions with our clients, we discuss our goals and I will explain how the facts of what are uncovered during the investigation play in the event the parties decide to divorce. We then start the initial planning phase of the investigation. This is where I will provide my insight on how to successfully prepare and execute an infidelity investigation.
MUM IS THE WORD
Once you are ready to proceed with your investigation and hire a private investigator, it is important to keep calm, especially at home with your spouse. Remember, you have hired a professional and so leave it up to them to collect the facts for you. Your job is to try your best to keep level headed and not allow the emotions of what is going on jeopardize the investigation. Discretion is the key to a successful investigation and if your spouse suspects you have hired a private investigator, it will hinder it.
The use of communications, whether it’s by cell phone or email, is super important and can break an investigation from the start. I cannot tell you how many times I have met with clients who have been communicating about their suspicions and plans with friends, family and investigators while using a cell phone that is under a family share plan or a plan that can be tracked by their spouse. In fact, on several occasions the spouse was made aware of pending investigations by researching the calls and messages on their spouse’s cell phones or computers.
Remember that just the way that you may have come across evidence of your spouse’s infidelity through cell phone and email records, so they may as well. If your spouse can see that you are calling investigators or have messaged persons explaining your suspicions they will, with no doubt complicate the investigation. The spouse will be more guarded and start their own measures to avoid detection.
Do not make the common mistake of thinking that since your phone is locked, nobody can access it without the credentials.
- There is hacking software that installs via text messages, various downloads or can be physically installed with access to a phone, which will allow all messages or call logs to be forwarded to a third party.
- Although a cell phone bill (call log) will not identify the contents of a text message or subscriber information for a particular telephone number, a curious spouse will only need to obtain a few numbers and with some research will be able to determine who are the individuals or companies you are calling or texting.
- Communications via computers is probably the least secure. There is much more software that can be installed on computers to learn about someone’s communications via email or virtually any software or website. An example and least complex is a key logger. This is very simple, installs discreetly and allows the individual who installed it access to all words, phrases, passwords and internet activity.
My advice is to avoid the mistake of showing your cards by using countermeasures like purchasing a separate phone from your spouse’s account, using a prepaid wireless plan and keeping the phone hidden.
Do not use your household computer or any tablet that is easily accessible by your household.
EVIDENCE / POST INVESTIGATION
Laws are continually changing, and clients are often confused about infidelity and its role in the divorce process. As of 2019, all 50 states have allowed no-fault divorce, meaning that you do not need to show that the other spouse has done anything wrong. However, only 17 states are true no-fault states which means that there is no option to cast blame and married couples can only file for divorce on no-fault grounds. You can read my next blog about infidelity investigations and evidence for divorce, spousal maintenance and child support.