Private investigators – or “PIs” as they’re frequently referred to – can be highly useful. In a wide range of areas – tracking down missing persons, pursuing criminals, surveillance, etc. – private investigators can bring substantial value to the table. If you’re thinking about divorce, you may not realize it, but you might have a legitimate reason to consider hiring a private investigator before you file for initial paperwork. In this post, we will identify and discuss two primary reasons as to why you might want to hire a PI before initiating divorce.
Identify Economic Fault
As we’ve pointed out and discussed previously on your blog, the State of Colorado is a no-fault state, which means that a spouse doesn’t need to show fault in order to successfully obtain a divorce. Colorado has been a no-fault state since the 1970s. Significantly, Colorado courts have been consistent in how they’ve generally refused to let marital fault (i.e. adultery, abandonment, etc.) impact the outcome of cases. In other words, if a spouse commits adultery, that generally won’t result in the other spouse receiving the lion’s share of the marital estate.
There is one exception to this general rule, however, and that exception is something called “economic fault.” If a spouse behaves in a way which clearly degrades the marital assets of the couple, this can alter the court’s decisions. For instance, suppose one spouse squanders large amounts of marital funds while having an adulterous affair. This type of situation may very well qualify as economic fault. The question becomes: how can someone prove economic fault? This is where a private investigator comes into play. If you’re trying to prove economic fault, this very often won’t be easy because instances of economic fault are frequently covered up. A PI can investigate this matter and gather evidence whenever possible.
Confirm Financial Transparency / Disclosures
Another reason why you might consider hiring a PI is to verify the accuracy of your spouse’s financial disclosures. When you file for divorce, your spouse will be required to submit financial documents which disclose his or her assets to the court. These documents are necessary to ensure an accurate and just property division process. However, in some cases, spouses are not honest about their assets, and may even go so far as to obscure or omit certain critical information. When a spouse attempts to hide assets, very often the other spouse has some suspicion or inkling that this may happen. In those situations, a private investigator may be needed in order to confirm this suspicion. Your investigator can gather concrete evidence of hidden assets (or inaccurate accounting, etc.), which you can then use in your appearances in court. The penalties for this type of deliberate falsification or obfuscation of financial records are quite severe, and so this matter can be very serious. If you have a legitimate suspicion along these lines, hiring a PI may be a wise investment.