So you suspect your spouse may be having an affair and one of your first thoughts might be, “Should I hire a private investigator?” The short answer is no, not until you first consult with an attorney. Hiring a private investigator through an attorney rather than on your own has three benefits: (1) the other party is less likely to have access to the private investigators findings; (2) it is more likely that the evidence gathered by the private investigator will be admissible at trial; and (3) an attorney can advise you whether or not a private investigators findings would even be useful in your specific case.
If a private investigator would be useful in your case, the idea of just asking a friend or relative to spy on your spouse may sound less costly and more appealing, however, you should never use a friend or relative. A friend or relative who is unaware of the privacy laws could be criminally prosecuted for accidentally violating those laws. A private investigator, on the other hand, is fully aware of all privacy laws and can legally obtain evidence to meet the courts requirements for proof of adultery.
Now, what exactly are the court requirements to prove adultery? Well, since it is often unlikely that physical evidence of adultery is available, only circumstantial evidence is required to show proof of adultery. Circumstantial proof of adultery requires a showing of opportunity and inclination. Opportunity may be shown through evidence such as the couple entering a private place (home, car, hotel, etc.) and exiting the private place a short time later. Inclination may be shown through evidence of the couple’s interactions such as kidding, hand holding, and expenses.
Before you hire a private investigator stop and consult an attorney to ensure that you take the right steps to get the justice you deserve. If you suspect your spouse is committing adultery, contact an attorney at Stiles Law to point you in the right direction.