An Overview of Spousal Surveillance
Investigating a cheating spouse is a delicate matter. Several important factors need to be considered before hand to help increase the odds of getting the proof you are seeking and to ensure that what the investigator finds is going to meet your needs.
Big Decision: If you need to confirm suspicions about a cheating spouse or you already know what they are up to but need some independent evidence, we can help. One of the most important things to do is make the following decision ahead of time:
Do I simply want to know what he/she is doing for peace of mind or am I looking for evidence of infidelity to get an advantage in court?
This is very important for the simple reason that time is money. Our agency, like nearly all others, charge by the hour. If you are trying to establish infidelity and prove fault on the part of your spouse for purposes of gaining an advantage in a divorce action, more time, documentation and investigative work will be required. This will always involve preparing a very detailed report, making proper identification of the other person and likely conducting multiple days of surveillance demonstrating this behavior to show a pattern or get the footage that proves they are more than just “friends”.
Fault in a Divorce Action: You should understand that each state has different rules concerning fault and distribution of assets based on same. If the courts in your state have the latitude to give one party more assets and/or alimony if fault (like a spouse cheating) is found, the reality is that infidelity is very common these days and some judges are reluctant to move away from a 50/50 split, despite proof of fault. An analysis of how this may effect your situation should be prepared by your attorney. Each state has varying laws about fault and its effect on judgments, so again consult with an attorney. If you are looking to use spousal surveillance to gain an advantage in court, more often than not, multiple days of surveillance will be required to show a pattern of cheating.
“I Just Want to Know the Truth”. For those of you looking for proof but not evidence for court, the surveillance can be easier and cheaper. Why? If your spouse tells you he/she is going to a co-workers retirement party after work but they actually drive to someone’s condo and let themselves in, you probably have all the information you need. A judge might need to see a bit more. Again, time is money and the more that you can narrow down “when”, “where” and with “whom” your spouse is engaged in this type of behavior, the cheaper, easier and more productive the surveillance will be.
Expectations: Another thing that we recommend is that you keep your expectations in the real world and not in Hollywood. For every case that a private investigator gets a videotape of two people being intimate at a motel or in a car, we have another where we can only follow a spouse to someplace like a large apartment building where they disappear out of sight in some common hallway. For some, this may be enough, but for others who need more information, we may need to conduct additional surveillance and investigative procedures to get more information about where he/she is going or whom they are with. Although this can be frustrating, it is sometimes unavoidable. Other times, your spouse may simply do whatever they said they were going to do: go to the mall, meet a friend for dinner, visit a relative. At A.S.G., our professional field investigators capture a subject’s activities discreetly and accurately. Unlike many others, we don’t limit our surveillance to what can be seen from the window of a car. All of our operatives are equipped with state-of-the-art long-range and hidden video cameras. Giving us the ability to observe the activity inside a subject’s place of work, in rural areas, at the mall and nearly everywhere else they can go. The only thing we cannot do is control what your partner will do or where they will go!
Being Discreet: Although you may not think that your cheating spouse would ever suspect that someone would be watching them, the majority of cheaters are well aware of the potential for someone, likely you, to be watching them. Cheating feels risky and exciting and watching over your shoulder is part of what all cheaters seem to do. Other times, the cheater is involved with someone else who is cheating making matters worse. There are also people, possibly like your spouse, who are just aggressive drivers, looking out for the police, extremely aware of their surroundings and all sorts of other habits which make pursuit more difficult. To deal with this, the private investigator may use multiple vehicles and investigators to get the job done right. This costs more, but two people can do a better job than one at following someone in traffic, in public places and anywhere else. Please understand that using multiple investigators on surveillance is the norm.
Timing: Although your spouse or significant other may spontaneously leave the house, likely meet the other person, all private investigators have multiple clients and lives outside of work. Sometimes our investigators will have another matter scheduled at that moment and we may not be able to initiate surveillance at extremely short notice. You have our promise that if it is possible, we will be there for you, but also try and understand if we cannot be available 24 hours a day.
Evidence: Today, almost all investigators utilize video cameras to capture evidence. The days where an investigator’s word was all you needed are gone. Videotape is more effective and does not lie. Make sure the investigator you work with has the proper equipment to capture evidence both from a car and inside a hotel, restaurant, bar or other public domain. Hidden, body worn cameras are a must are standard equipment for all of our investigators. If you are going to be involved in a divorce, understand that your investigator may need to testify about the video and the surveillance. Expect that he or she will charge you for their time in court. This is normal for experts.