In Family Law, a private investigator can come in handy for a variety of matters including determining whether your spouse is having an affair, if they are engaging in drug activity, or even seeing if your spouse is abusing your children. You would be surprised to know that a lot of people do not actually know the job description of a private investigator. Let’s be honest, most people think of Sherlock Holmes when they hear the words “private investigator”. Hopefully, this article will fill in the gaps.
A private investigator, also known as “PI” or “private eye”, is a person who can be hired to undertake investigatory law services and typically works for attorneys in civil cases. Before the advent of no-fault divorce, many private investigators were hired to search out evidence of adultery or other conduct within marriage to establish grounds for a divorce. Despite the lack of legal necessity for such evidence in many jurisdictions, according to press reports collecting evidence of adultery or other “bad behavior” by spouses and partners is still one of the most profitable activities investigators undertake, especially when alimony and post separation support are on the line.
PI’s can also be useful in areas other than family law. For instance, PI’s often work for attorneys in civil cases investigating suspicious claims for insurance companies. They also can be used to perform due diligence for investors considering investing with an investment group. This could serve to help the prospective investor avoid being the victim of a fraud or Ponzi scheme. By hiring a licensed and experienced investigator, they could unearth information that the investment is risky and/or that the investor has suspicious red flags in his or her background. This type of work work, known as due diligence, is becoming much more prevalent in the 21st century with the public reports of large-scale Ponzi schemes and fraudulent investment vehicles such as Madoff and Rothstein and the hundreds of others reported by the SEC and other law-enforcement agencies. Additionally, a handful of very skilled PI’s work with attorneys on capital punishment and criminal defense cases.
Private investigators come from all types of backgrounds, such as police officers, former military, spies, and law enforcement agents. Most states require that PI’s be licensed and some states even allow a PI to carry a firearm. PI’s know how to keep extremely detailed notes and must always be prepared to testify in court in regards to the matters they investigated. Overall, private investigators have a very real purpose in today’s legal system and can help in a variety of areas, which far exceeds the scope of what Sherlock Holmes investigated back in the late 1800’s.