Private investigators, often associated with solving mysteries or criminal cases, might not be the first resource that comes to mind when contemplating divorce. But for individuals who suspect their spouse may be hiding something, the fear, and distrust can lead them to pursue a variety of methods to uncover the truth.
If you have suspicions of spousal wrongdoing, you may wonder whether enlisting the services of a private investigator can provide you with answers or a strategic advantage in a New Jersey divorce. However, before you go down this path, several important factors must be considered, including legal aspects, choosing a P.I., and the vital role of your divorce attorney.
Is it Legal to Hire a Private Investigator in N.J.?
In New Jersey, hiring a private investigator to gather information about your spouse during a divorce is legal. However, there are some restrictions on what the private investigator can do. For example, they cannot trespass on private property, wiretap phone calls, or engage in illegal activities.
It’s also worth noting that certain investigative measures may be considered “spousal spying,” such as installing cameras in your home without your spouse’s knowledge. Nearly every type of spying is illegal in New Jersey. This is important to remember, as evidence gathered unlawfully or violating someone’s constitutional rights will be inadmissible during divorce proceedings. Additionally, you could face serious legal consequences.
Should I Hire a Private Investigator?
If done within the confines of the law, hiring a private investigator can present a favorable option for many spouses contemplating divorce. There are several reasons why someone might consider hiring a private investigator, but some of the most common include:
- To gather evidence of infidelity. If you suspect your spouse may be having an extramarital affair, a private investigator can help to gather evidence of their activities. While New Jersey is a no-fault divorce state, evidence of infidelity can still impact certain aspects of the divorce, such as spousal support determinations.
- To track down a spouse who has disappeared. Sometimes, a spouse may disappear or attempt to evade the divorce process. A private investigator can use their expertise and various resources to help uncover the missing spouse’s whereabouts.
- To investigate allegations of child abuse. When allegations of child abuse or neglect arise, a private investigator may be able to shed light on the spouse’s abusive behavior, providing valuable information to the court and protecting the welfare of the children involved.
- To assess the financial assets of the other spouse. Private investigators are a resource most commonly used in high-net-worth divorce cases, as these cases are more likely to involve complex or hidden assets. If you suspect your spouse is attempting to conceal or undervalue their financial holdings, a P.I. or forensic accountant can potentially help with your case.
- To gather information about spending habits. Understanding a spouse’s spending habits and financial decisions can be crucial when negotiating a fair settlement. A private investigator can observe financial decisions, examine expenditure patterns, and provide insights into a spouse’s financial behaviors.
How Do I Choose a Private Investigator?
With many private investigators practicing in New Jersey, selecting the right professional is a critical decision that can significantly impact the outcome of your divorce case. To ensure that you choose a private investigator that is experienced, reputable, and aligned with your objectives, consider the following factors:
- Their experience in divorce cases. Seek an investigator with a proven track record of successfully conducting inquiries within family law. An experienced investigator will be familiar with the nuances of divorce-related investigations, understand the legal implications, and have the necessary skills to uncover pertinent information discreetly and ethically.
- Their licensing status. In New Jersey, private investigators must be licensed to operate legally. Verify that the investigator you are considering holds a valid license issued by the state authorities.
- Their fees. Private investigators’ fees can vary significantly based on various factors. It is important to understand their fee structure upfront, so request a detailed breakdown of the costs involved to avoid surprises down the road.
- Their confidentiality policies. Confidentiality is paramount when dealing with sensitive divorce matters. Inquire about confidentiality policies and protocols to ensure your privacy and the investigation’s integrity are well-protected.
What Should I Expect From a Private Investigator?
Once you’ve hired a private investigator, they will work closely with you to develop a comprehensive action plan. This plan will likely encompass a range of investigative techniques, such as discreet surveillance, conducting interviews with relevant individuals, and performing thorough background checks to uncover essential information. Throughout the investigation, the P.I. will compile their findings into a detailed report, informing you and providing insights on what was discovered. This report can also be instrumental in supporting your case during divorce proceedings.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Private Investigator?
The cost of hiring a private investigator can vary depending on many factors, such as the complexity and scope of the investigation, the required resources, and the investigator’s reputation. However, you can expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars or more for high-net-worth divorces. Keep in mind that more resources and time spent often translate to better results, as well as higher costs. The amount you’re willing to pay should reflect the efforts you expect from the P.I. and vice versa.
The Importance of Involving Your Divorce Attorney
Protecting What Matters Most
When hiring a private investigator for your divorce, combining their services with those of an experienced divorce attorney is critical. The New Jersey Family Law Group values the lawful pursuit of truth in divorce cases. Our attorneys possess a deep understanding of New Jersey family law. They can work closely with your private investigator to guarantee that the evidence obtained adheres to legal standards and is effectively utilized in your case.
With 4 Locations, We Serve Clients Throughout New Jersey
Contact us today by calling 732-240-9555 or submit our contact form to set up a confidential case evaluation.