I was recently asked to provide 5 key benefits of using a private investigator in a family law matter. Narrowing it down to 5 has not been an easy task because frankly, there are a lot of potential benefits to having a qualified, competent, private investigator working on your case, and there are several types of family law cases to consider. But if I had to choose just 5 points, it would be these ones:
5. Cost / Time Savings: There’s an old saying “You can do it right or you can do it cheap,” but when you hire a qualified private investigator, you actually get the most cost-effective solution to your problems. A P.I. already knows the route that needs to be travelled, and they can get you there without unnecessary missteps and costly errors that inexperience can bring. I’ve told the story a few times now of the very nice person that called me after having spent $90,000 on their divorce, and over $10,000 on trying to investigate. In the end, it would have taken us two weeks and less than a third of the cost to complete the tasks they required. It’s not to say a client cannot be successful on their own merits, but in the end, what did it cost you and what was your result? These are the questions you have to ask yourself.
4. Litigation Privilege / Work Product: When push comes to shove, holding your cards close to you is the best way to ensure the other player don’t cheat, and cannot play against your hand. When you have placed your case in the hands of a qualified legal team, the best compliment to that team is a qualified P.I. who can work with them to achieve your best result, and not have to disclose the details of the investigation until litigation is ready.
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3. Investigative Knowledge and Experience: Having the ability to know not only what you are looking for, but how and where to look for it in a manner that the courts will accept, is a huge benefit to a family law matter. When your car breaks down, you want to hire a really good mechanic who will fix it right the first time. When your basement is flooding, you want a good plumber to stop the leak and fix the problem. Investigation is the same way. When you don’t know how to get your answer, or worse, you have the answer but don’t know how to make sure it will be accepted in court, you appreciate having a reliable private investigator working on your matter, and getting it right the first time.
2. Accurate Information: Few things hurt a case as much as inaccurate information does. You don’t always get more than one chance to present your side of the story, and if your facts are off, your credibility is tarnished. Before long you have to fight twice as hard just to be viewed as even with the other side. This is one point where you really need to be careful of which investigation company you choose for the job(s) at hand; we are not created equal and there are many companies that will literally just print things off of Google and hand them to you. Make sure you choose a firm that can provide supporting evidence for the information they give you.
1. Quality Supporting Documentation: No matter what the scenario, I cannot think of a situation that has not benefited from having solid supporting documentation. Whether you are conducting surveillance, bug sweeps, digital forensic analysis, research, or just confirming some facts, there is nothing better for your case than having the judge look at your answer and be able to clearly see the proof to back up what you’re claiming.
Please do not take this as a complete list. There are many more benefits a P.I. can offer depending on the specifics of your family law matter. In family law, the decisions you make today will directly impact the outcome of your future. Topics can be very emotional and difficult to deal with and as such, you should consider hiring a level-headed, third party who can often better support your legal team, and subsequently, your matter.