If one spouse suspects the other of cheating, hiring a private investigator to look into the matter is a great option. This allows for more information gathering before any final decision is made regarding how to move forward with the relationship.

But you should really think about what it is that you want to accomplish before hiring an investigator and getting to work. If you’re newly married and/or don’t have a whole lot of money in the bank, then putting someone to work on your behalf may simply be to determine whether or not you want to leave the relationship.

If money and/or children are involved, however, then the process takes on a whole new meaning. A more thorough investigation will ensure that any information gathered can be presented in a courtroom setting, and not be thrown out by the judge.

Let’s take a look at the best ways to go about proving infidelity in this manner:

Do private investigators make good witnesses?

If you’ve done your due diligence and made sure that you’ve hired an investigator with good experience and a stellar reputation, then the answer to this question is almost certainly yes. Your investigator should definitely know the laws that govern your city or state and will be careful about collecting evidence in a professional way. Laws pertaining to surveillance vary from state to state, however, so be sure if your investigator is surveilling your spouse in multiple jurisdictions that the laws in both areas are being adhered to. Again, your investigator should be aware of these differences. A Austin Private Investigator named Danny Gomez told us his firm testified 53 times in 2018 and over 70% of the testimony helped his client.

Should I also hire an attorney?

Chances are that you’re already going to have an attorney in mind if you suspect cheating in your relationship, but you should definitely retain him or her BEFORE officially hiring a private investigator. There are rules about confidentiality and privilege in many states, so the information an investigator uncovers is often protected if the attorney hires him or her on behalf of the client. When the contract is between the attorney and the investigator, any material created in preparation for trial may be protected from discovery by the opposing party as “attorney work product”.

What about hiring a friend or someone who isn’t licensed to gather evidence?

This is most definitely not a good idea! Not only will it throw the legality of the evidence gathering into doubt, but if your “friend,” or acquaintance, breaks the law while surveilling your spouse, he or she could actually be criminally prosecuted for any mistakes that are made. Both of you could also be taken to court and sued for monetary damages. To avoid any of these types of problems, you should always work with a private investigator who is familiar with the law and ways to legally obtain information.

What happens if the evidence my investigator obtained is thrown out by the court?

If this happens, you’ve probably just wasted your money. This is why it’s so important that you hire an investigator who knows how to work within the law. It does you no good to have rock solid proof of your spouse’s affair if it was gained via an illegal wiretap or because of an illegal surveillance. Then you’ve got the proof and you’ve also got a large bill to pay to the investigator, but you still have no case and will probably not get the outcome you desire from the court.

Should I keep it a secret that I’ve hired a private investigator?

You most definitely should! Many people have affairs with close friends of the family, and you won’t know if the person you’re confiding in is someone who is worthy of your trust. For this reason, investigators and attorneys advise their clients not to confide in anyone about their suspicious of infidelity. You could be sharing with someone who is actually the person involved with your spouse. Or, more likely, it could be a person who can’t keep a secret and will let it slip to your spouse or one of his or her friends that you suspect cheating and have hired an investigator.

What if I don’t need to use this evidence in an actual courtroom?

If you simply want to know the facts before moving forward with any long-lasting decisions, then that’s all well and good. But you still want the information to be gathered in the right way for a couple of reasons. First, you don’t want to run into any problems yourself if the way the evidence was collected is suspect. And secondly, you never know what might happen down the road. Perhaps when you mention to your spouse that you want a divorce, he or she might be the one to file a court case. And if this happens, you don’t want to show up in the courtroom with evidence that can’t be presented and no way to tell your side of the story.