Infidelity is one of the leading causal factors in divorces, representing one of the single most stressful and damaging things that can occur in a relationship. When you suspect infidelity, it’s hard to know what you should do about it. Should you hire a private investigator to find out? If you’re certain an affair is already occurring, do you still need to hire a private investigator to get absolute proof of an affair?
In this post we’ll walk you through our takes on these issues and answer some common questions about hiring a private investigator for infidelity purposes.
Should You Hire an Investigator?
Have you detected the classic signs of infidelity? Do you strongly suspect that your partner is being unfaithful? Let’s not beat around the bush here - hiring a private investigator is a big leap for a lot of people. That’s why we started Trustify: to make it as simple and safe as possible. Here are two main categories of reasons you might want to hire a private investigator:
1. Legal Reasons
Most (if not all) legal reasons for gathering evidence of infidelity are related to divorce proceedings. However, many states are no-fault divorce states, which means that the court basically doesn’t care about infidelity. That said, there are still some circumstances in which proving infidelity could improve the outcome of a divorce for you.
- Alienation of Affection laws: If you can prove that your marriage was happy before your spouse’s lover came into the picture, you can sue the aforementioned lover for damages in certain states.
- Prenuptial agreements: A prenuptial agreement that contains an infidelity clause can influence how a couple’s assets are divided in the event of divorce. Many prenuptial agreements with these clauses compel the unfaithful spouse to pay a financial penalty to the faithful one, provided that there’s proof of infidelity.
- Money spent on the affair: If the unfaithful spouse has spent considerable marital assets on their affair, the court can sometimes force them to pay a financial penalty when the marital assets are divided.
- States that still allow fault-based divorce: some states, like Alabama, do allow for fault-based divorce. In these states, infidelity can have some impact on alimony payments and the division of assets.
Under these circumstances, hiring a private investigator can be a very sound investment as the financial reward will likely far exceed the cost of the investigator’s work.
1. Personal Reasons
Many people wish to gather evidence of infidelity whether or not they intend to divorce or separate from their partner. Here are two of the most common reasons that our clients come to Trustify for an infidelity investigation:
- People often hire a private investigator to put to rest doubts and fears that they might have. One of the most common issues we deal with at Trustify is the gaslighting (manipulation of a victim causing them to question their sanity) of spouses that have been cheated on by their partner, resulting in agony and self doubt that can persist for months or years. If you feel like you’re going insane (and your spouse attacks you for questioning them about your suspicions), hiring a private investigator can get you clear evidence of unfaithfulness and help restore your sanity.
- Some clients hire a private investigator because friends and family members doubt them. In certain situations, family members on both sides of the marriage can prove unwilling to believe the truth about an unfaithful spouse. Having family members off-side and even undermining your efforts to find the truth can be painful. Evidence from a private investigator can set matters to rest.
To sum up: if you feel like clear evidence of unfaithfulness is the only way forward, you should hire a private investigator.
How to Hire a Private Investigator for Infidelity Investigations
Hiring a private investigator can seem like a complicated process, mostly because it often is. Interstate licensing, fee structures, legal restrictions - these all need to be considered if you are thinking of approaching individual investigators and agencies alone.
Fortunately, Trustify is here to simplify the process and keep you (and your money) safe. We offer highly experienced, licensed, and vetted private investigators nationwide at competitive prices. If you hire a private investigator through our network, we guarantee that you’ll get a trusted, reliable, experienced private investigator that will be more than capable of the task at hand.
So, obviously, we’d prefer that you went with us - but if you choose to hire a private investigator on your own, we can offer you some tips:
- Experience matters. Research licensed private investigator firms in your area. Ask them for references. Choose a firm that specializes in infidelity investigations.
- Ask them for licensing information. This is critical - hiring an unlicensed investigator will likely lead to poor quality of work and legal liabilities for you.
- Schedule a consultation. This is the perfect time to find out the scope of the services they offer. Ask them what sort of techniques and methods they use. Remember, anyone that offers to get text messages or emails or to track cell phones is most likely unable to do so, or will be breaking the law if they try. People can and do get prosecuted for breaking the law in these matters.
- Ask them how soon and how often they will report their findings to you, and whether that will be by phone, a written report delivered to you, and if it will include photographs, video or other tangible evidence proving infidelity.
- Compare the rates charged by all of the investigative firms you research, based on the quality and depth of investigations they conduct and what their success rate is at gathering evidence of infidelity.
The Cost of Hiring a Private Investigator to Detect Infidelity
The cost of a private investigator differs from one private investigation firm to the next. Current rates across the country average between $60 and $200 per hour, with some agencies charging as high as $500 an hour in major metropolitan markets.
You should always ask about retainers when hiring an investigator. Many investigative firms require that you put down a deposit against which their work will be charged. This is called a "retainer", and it can be as much as $5,000. These retainers may also be non-refundable, meaning if you don’t use it all you won’t get it back. You will also want to clarify with your investigator if you are going to be responsible for paying for any travel expenses, meals, or driving time that the investigator incurs in the course of their work.
Fortunately, if you’re not interested in negotiating a payment structure, we have a solution for you. At Trustify, we have made an effort to make our pricing as accessible and transparent as possible. We charge $79/hour with no retainer. To make sure there are no surprises, all work has to be pre-approved by you. We also refund unused hours if your investigator finishes their investigation faster than expected.
Tip: collect as much evidence and information about your suspicions as you can. This will help an investigator determine the number of hours likely to be required to gather clear evidence of your spouse's potential infidelity.
What Sort of Results Can You Expect?
In our experience, most evidence of infidelity comes in the form of written observations from the investigator accompanied by photos or videos. Sometimes digital evidence in the form of dating profiles of the subject, social media evidence, etc. are given, but this depends on the specifics of the investigation.
Your final report is typically made up of a variety of evidence that points infidelity. Examples might include be photos of the subject and a partner talking or being physical with each other in contexts that indicate a sexual relationship. If you're expecting photos of people in bed together, however, you may be disappointed. Privacy laws and trespassing laws make getting these sorts of photos illegal. Fortunately, these photos are not necessary to prove infidelity for any skilled investigator.