CATCHING A CHEATING SPOUSE: Does it really matter to the court?
BY: J ALEXANDER CHILTON, LPI, CAP
In 1999 when I started my career as a private investigator a large majority of the surveillance work I did was related to marital infidelity cases. This went on until about 2007. Some of these cases would go on forever it seemed. The more evidence of infidelity I gathered the more the client would want; and as result it became a vicious cycle. In some of those case I had to tell the client no, I would not do anymore surveillance.
After having several of these lengthy cases end up in court I started to notice a pattern in the rulings from the bench. No matter how much evidence I gathered and presented the ruling was pretty much the same, an equitable division of the marital assets would occur in accordance with prevailing law. In most of these cases, there was no punitive action taken against the adulterer by the court. That is to say, there was rarely an adjudication in which alimony or special spousal support was given. In the instances in which punitive actions were ordered it was generally because one spouse or the other was a stay at home parent/ homemaker and had been in that family role for years.
With that all said, why hire a private investigator in an adultery case? The simple answer is peace of mind. Either confirm of squash the suspicions that you have so you can make informed good decisions about your future with this person. The more strategic answer also revolves around informed good decisions. More specifically, it deals with strategic leverage. Many times in divorce cases involving marital infidelity one spouse or the other is making threats to take away the kids, withhold financial support, or is belligerently denying the affair and threatens to fight the divorce to the bitter end. When any of these or other scenarios occur and you have evidence of the infidelity, it puts you in a better position for pre-trial settlement negotiations or mediation.
In other words, you’re not depending on the judge to determine who will get what. Well, how is this possible you might ask, since most if not all judges follow the prevailing law? In many instances, the Judge has great latitude to approve most settlement agreements between the parties as he sees fit as long as both parties sign off as agreeable. Very simply, having a licensed professional investigator gives you the ability to “air the dirty laundry,” so to speak, on the record for all to hear and see. You have the power to subpoena and depose the spouse’s paramour, friends, family, coworkers, financial records etc. Regardless of who they are, not many people, with the exception of the narcissistic few, want their family’s dirty laundry aired in a very public way.
So again, when you suspect your spouse may be cheating, remember to hire to a licensed professional investigator that understands, the fight is not fought in the courtroom but instead the conference room. Good Luck!