Using Surveillance for Divorce and Infidelity Cases


We think you may find this article discussing the use of surveillance in divorce cases interesting…


“One common reason why private investigators are contacted is to confirm whether or not a spouse or partner is cheating. This information can be used for a number of reasons in Family Law. 

Reasons to Hire a Private Investigator for Infidelity Cases

In some cases, a private investigator is hired by a concerned husband or wife who believes that the other spouse is cheating which could affect a pre- or post- nuptial agreement or a spousal support action.  If the private investigator must prepare evidence to be used in court, additional time may be necessary for the private investigator to surveil the target, prepare a report, prepare for court and confirm suspicions. In these cases, the spouse often knows that the other is cheating and simply needs to confirm this information in a reliable manner.

How Unfaithfulness Is Documented

Private investigators may use a number of investigative techniques to determine whether a spouse or partner is being unfaithful. For example, they may conduct surveillance on the cheating spouse in which they follow the target around for days. They may be tipped off by the person who hired them about a supposed errand that the target is supposed to make and may follow the target to see if they went where they said they were going to. Many private investigators have long-range cameras so that they can photograph or videotape the subject of the investigation. It is vital in these situations that the private investigator acts in a discreet manner to avoid tipping off the target of the investigation.

Private investigators may also use other tools to assist them with the process. They may conduct online checks of the spouse and monitor social media activity. They may use databases to confirm the identity of an affair partner. They may find a hidden asset in an affair partner’s name that the other spouse does not know about.

Collecting Evidence

Individuals who hire private investigators may be charged by the hour or a flat rate, depending on their arrangement with the private investigator. Often, the more time that an investigator must take to follow the target, videotape him or her and report back to the person who hired him, the more expensive it is. Greater documentation and more detailed investigative work is often necessary when a court action is involved and the private investigator is expected to provide this information to be submitted as evidence in court. To be submitted as evidence, it must be properly authenticated and the lawyer must be able to show a foundation for the evidence. 

A private investigator may use additional methods to confirm the veracity of an investigation when the court is involved, such as identifying who the spouse is with or who lives in a particular apartment. Additionally, a private investigator often conducts surveillance of the target for several days in order to establish a pattern of conduct that demonstrates that the two are romantically involved.


When hiring a private investigator to conduct an infidelity investigation, there are several considerations that people must keep in mind. First, the private investigator does not have control over what the cheating spouse does. He or she can simply monitor actions. If the affair partner has decided not to pursue the affair while he or she is under investigation, the private investigator may not be able to confirm the adultery. Second, When hiring a private investigator, be sure to confirm ahead of time that the investigator has experience presenting his or her evidence in court and working with law firms. This will help ensure that any evidence that is collected is documented and stored in a way that will be admissible in court. “


Curated for Wilson & Reives, a full service North Carolina law firm

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