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Why You May Need to Hire a PI for Family Disputes

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.


When should you consider hiring a private investigator in the middle of a family dispute? How can a private investigator help you when you are going through a divorce or already split with your ex-partner? What can a private investigator strengthen your family law case?

Suspicion of Adultery

A private investigator is the right person to confront when you suspect your partner is having an affair. This saves the worried partner from confronting a potentially innocent spouse with evidence, so that they don’t look paranoid. It also avoids a confrontation over phone numbers dialed and late nights at work that are linked to an affair that could drive your spouse to start covering their tracks and hiding assets while filing for divorce. Another benefit of hiring a professional is that they’ll collect evidence admissible in court as proof of the infidelity, which is a point in your favor when filing for divorce.

As much as we may wish it not to be true, many marriages end in separation and divorce.

As much as we may wish it not to be true, many marriages end in separation and divorce.

During Divorce

When you are going through a divorce, Texas’ community property laws state that marital assets are divided equally. A private investigator is a good resource for finding out if he really did sell that boat for $5 out of spite or hid it at his brother’s house. Private investigators can find hidden assets like bank accounts that don’t have your name on it. Or there are hidden sources of income like her selling items through Avon or the man is working for a lawn service for cash.

A private investigator can find out if she actually quit her job so she gets more spousal support and child support or found another position but didn’t tell the judge. In some cases, the private investigator finds that someone who claims they are disabled and thus can’t pay more are playing sports and otherwise in excellent health.

A PI may find that an ex who says they are a devoted stay at home parent may be leaving the children alone or not giving them enough attention.

A PI may find that an ex who says they are a devoted stay at home parent may be leaving the children alone or not giving them enough attention.

Suspicion of Neglect

Private investigators sometimes play a role in capturing proof of neglect, abuse and mistreatment of children. Maybe your ex-partner is leaving the children home alone while going to work when they are too young to be unsupervised. It doesn’t even have to be outright neglect for the investigator’s findings to help you in a child custody case. For example, a spouse who claims they need extra money each month to pay the bills but has actually moved into a larger apartment and gained a live-in “friend” is using your money to subsidize not just themselves but someone else.

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In other cases, the custodial parent has stated that they need more money in order to live because they are a devoted stay at home parent, but the P.I. finds that they are dropping the child off with Mom or a neighbor before going to work. In those cases, the ex has lied to the court and is taking more money than they should. A situation that comes up all too frequently is the use of boyfriends or girlfriends of the biological parent as babysitters while the parent is absent; this puts the child at danger since Mom’s boyfriend is many times more likely to hurt the child than Dad would.

Suspicion of Addiction

You can make claims that your soon to be ex gets drunk or uses drugs. This will also be shot down by your ex’s attorney are claims made to try to exclude the other partner from child custody or visitation. A private investigator capturing images of a drunken, aggressive parent or reckless driving has proof that will stand up in court and could win your case. And there is the possibility that the private investigator in will see them doing something illegal and call the police; then there is an indisputable police report to present in case instead of he-said-she-said allegations.

A PI can also document your ex drinking during visits or having boyfriends / girlfriends over though the custody agreement says this isn’t allowed. And unlike reports based on the child’s reports of misbehavior, a private investigator’s pictures of Mom drinking beer with her boyfriend or Dad smoking while the kids play is evidence that will stand up in court.

Finding the Child

Has your teenager moved out of the family home and you need to find them? A private investigator can find a sixteen year old who moved out of Mom’s house and in with friends so they can be brought back home to Dad’s place. A private investigator can also find a non-custodial parent who has taken the child or put them with family members so that the custodial parent can’t have them.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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