In a previous blog, we provided an update on how to choose the right private investigation company and we provided information related to retainers. In this blog we will talk about what you as the client can do to help your investigator/investigation. In future blogs we will talk about (a) surveillance – reality vs. perception, pros and cons; (b) GPS units; and (c) cell phone forensics – what you can and can’t do.
The majority of our calls are from a spouse or significant other who suspects their spouse/partner is cheating. When you suspect your spouse/partner is cheating; is it a gut feeling or have you seen one or more of the following “red flags”? Your spouse/partner changes their behavior, such as dressing differently, spending more time than usual at the gym, working late more than usual, or unexplained absences from home. Your spouse/partner recently password protected their cell phone and they refused to give you the password; they receive unexplained telephone calls and/or texts; they delete their call history and/or texts frequently. The list goes on …
What you as the client can do to help your investigator/investigation.
The first thing you need to consider is – what do you want? Do you just need peace of mind that you’re not imagining things? Do you want to catch them and then confront? Do you want a divorce? Many times when a client calls us, they have already confronted their spouse/partner. It probably went like this: you confronted them, they denied the allegation, their behavior changed briefly for the better, and then something happened to arouse your suspicions again. Unless there is true repentance, people will go back to their old behavior. We are not counselors; we are professional private investigators. Our experience has shown normally you have one opportunity to get the evidence you need. Once you get the evidence, then you can decide how you want to use it. It’s not a bad idea to get your “ducks in a row” first – just in case.
Develop a plan. Once you’ve considered what you want to do, you and your investigator need to develop a plan. Will your investigation involve a background check? Will your investigation involve surveillance and/or the use of a GPS unit? Will your investigation take one or two investigators? Will your investigation require night/weekend surveillance? How long will your investigation take? And, plan for the unexpected.
Intelligence information. The more intelligence type information you provide to your investigator will help bring about successful results and more than likely save you money. Intelligence information consist of, but is not limited to, (1) the reason(s) for your suspicions; (2) photograph of your spouse/partner and a photograph or description of their vehicle to include the license plate number; (3) photograph and/or the name of the suspected paramour and a photograph or description of their vehicle to include the license plate number; (4) suspected meeting locations; (5) work locations and hours; and (6) places of interest – where they like to hang out, eat, etc. Any information you think will be helpful to your case.
Document. It’s important for you to document what your spouse/partner tells you. Then, you can compare that information with what your investigator discovered during surveillance, etc. It goes towards their credulity and it can be useful in the event your case goes to court.
Watch your behavior. It is very important that you continue to go about your normal routine. For example, if you call your spouse/partner twice a day, then continue to call them twice a day. Don’t do anything to make them think you are suspicious. Any change in your behavior will be suspicious to your spouse/partner.
Communicate with your investigator. It is very important that you keep your investigator updated on any information relevant to your case such as a change in routine. For example, you and your spouse/partner meet for dinner. This hasn’t been the normal routine. If you haven’t communicated this to your investigator, he/she may conduct surveillance only to later find out it wasn’t necessary and it winds up costing you money.
Trust your investigator. Your investigator should provide you with updates as your case progresses. Your investigator may recommend additional surveillance or they may recommend the use of a second investigator. It’s okay to question the investigator and let him/her explain their reasoning; however, you should have confidence in their decision based on their education, training, and experience. Remember, they have experience in working these cases and they are neutral. You, as the client, react more on emotions.
Set a budget. It’s almost impossible to tell someone how much it will cost to work a case; however, you should be given a price range based on your investigators past experiences in investigations.
Don’t overreact. If your investigator provides you with evidence that your spouse/partner is cheating, don’t immediately confront them. Take some time to process the information, gather your thoughts, and then decide what to do. We have seen cases where the client confronted their spouse/partner too soon and it worked against them. It provided the offending party the opportunity to create an alibi and/or get their story straight with their paramour.
Southern Professional Investigations investigators have years of experience in the public and private sectors. Our education, training, and experience set us apart from other private investigation companies. Give us a call and let’s talk about your case.