Legal Implications of Hiring a Private Investigator in a Divorce Case

During a contested divorce, many clients ask their Tomball divorce lawyer if they should hire a private investigator to follow their soon-to-be ex spouse. Done correctly, this action may prove extremely useful, providing the lawyer with valuable evidence in your divorce case.

But there are also many legal pitfalls which may ultimately hurt your case. Let us discuss them in order to understand why you must proceed with caution and have any PI vetted by your attorney before hiring them.

1. The Private Investigator Must Be Properly Licensed

The first thing to check when hiring a PI in a divorce case is their license. The simplest way of doing this is asking the private investigator for their license number and checking it on this official portal.

Reputable PIs and agencies usually display their license number prominently on their website.

Hiring someone you’ve found online and who claims to be a PI can be extremely dangerous. You and the unlicensed PI may be accused of stalking and invasion of privacy.

2. The PI Must Comply with All Privacy Laws in Texas

Texas has strict privacy laws and there are many actions which are prohibited even to a licensed private investigator. For example, it is illegal to place a tracking device on someone’s car to monitor their movements.

You may face hefty fines and any kind of information gleaned in this manner is not admissible in court. Likewise, you cannot offer the PI or your attorney any information obtained by snooping into your spouse’s phone. They are obliged by law to not use that information in their investigation or rely on it as evidence.

3. The Private Investigator Must Use Ethical Means of Obtaining Information

Some private investigators tread very closely to breaking the law in order to obtain information for their clients. In certain cases, they may abuse another person’s confidence to obtain information or get into contact with them under false pretenses.

While they are not essentially breaking the law in pretending to be friendly to your ex or their alleged romantic interest, this approach is unethical. And you can be sure that your spouse will bring this issue up in divorce court when the evidence obtained by the PI is presented.

In this case, your Tomball divorce lawyer may lose a lot of bargaining power when fighting for a fair share of the marital assets and spousal support.

a skilled PI can obtain useful information

4. Admissibility of Evidence in Court

Family law courts have strict rules regarding evidence. If it is not legally obtained, it is not admissible and will be disregarded. Thus, you must be certain that you hire an experienced PI, who complies with all these rules and makes no mistakes.

You must also remember that any attempt to make your spouse appear as a bad parent will backfire when it comes to child custody arrangements.

5. Commitment to Confidentiality and Discretion

Last but not least, you must remember that the PI will gain access to a lot of private information about you, your spouse, and your children. This means that they must be extremely careful about confidentiality and data protection. Also, they must be trustworthy.

Any information leaked by mistake could end up in the hands of your spouse’s legal counsel and used against you. For this reason, you should do a thorough background check and look for client testimonies and reviews before you hire a private investigator.

Discuss the Option of Hiring a PI with Your Tomball Divorce Lawyer!

A private investigator can help your divorce case or make it extremely complicated. It all depends on their experience, trustworthiness and commitment to comply with all the laws and rules. Thus, before you hire a PI, talk to your Tomball divorce lawyer at Bolton Law and let them guide you in this decision

If you have just filed for divorce or been served, contact us to schedule an initial appointment before taking any other decision. Call us today at 281-519-2287!