So you’re going through a divorce and you believe your soon-to-be-former spouse may be hiding something. Whether it’s money, affairs, or something else, if you’re considering hiring a private investigator, let’s look at some pros and cons first.
Colorado is a No-Fault Divorce State
As I’ve written about previously, Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, which means that catching your spouse cheating doesn’t have much relevance to your case and won’t win you any brownie points with the judge. Essentially in our state, if one party says, “I need a divorce because it’s simply not working out,” the Court will not fault either person, but instead begin looking at how to divvy up assets and debts most fairly.
However, hiring a private investigator could help in addressing certain specific issues.
Using Investigators where Children are Involved
Not too long ago I had a case where my client was convinced that his wife was spending minimal time with the kids. He believed that, when she had the children, she would hire a babysitter to watch them while she would go out and party.
If he could prove that this was happening, it would help his argument in getting more time with the kids and paying less in child support (as she was arguing how important it was for her to stay home with the kids).
In this case, it made sense to contemplate hiring a P.I. to do surveillance.
There are other cases, usually involving children, when hiring a P.I. is a good way to gather more information. For instance, we’ve gone this route when my client suspected her husband had a drinking problem despite the fact that he was claiming he wasn’t drinking at all. We had somebody tail him to bars and observe that he was paying cash for his drinks (so the charges wouldn’t appear on his bank statements).
But again, this information was only relevant since there were children involved in the case.
Using Investigators to Turn Up Hidden Assets
If there’s a concern about hidden assets you can hire private investigators who specialize in trying to locate hidden money or property, and when it comes to concerns about what has been done with marital funds, a forensic accountant is someone who can find out where money is going.
We’ve had cases where the spouses claimed that rent was a certain amount of money but, once their bank statements were acquired, we could clearly see that they weren’t paying a cent. Usually in these cases, the spouse is living rent-free with a new boyfriend/girlfriend or a parent who is floating them. This is valuable information because now the Court isn’t obligated to consider that expense when looking at marital support (aka alimony).
In all the classic movies involving private investigators, they’re generally hired to turn up infidelity in the marriage. But these days, at least in Colorado, the no-fault component of divorce essentially eliminates the need to determine whether someone is cheating. Although cheating does occasionally come into play (for instance, if one spouse spends marital funds on lavish gifts for a mistress or mister), it is rarely as large a factor these days as it used to be.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to hire a private investigator, talk to your attorney—he or she will have the names of reputable investigators. And if you’re about to go through a divorce, we can help. Working with an attorney is the best way to make sure that your divorce is done right the first time, saving you time, energy and heartache in the future. Call us at 303-449-1873 to set up a free consultation.