One of the most critical decisions we make in life is who to legally bind ourselves to in matrimony—not only because of the vows we make to each other, but also because the legal union in most states means entitling the other person to half of your assets. There is an unexpected trend of private investigators—especially female private investigators—in countries where arranged marriage is woven into the fabric of culture. Many families seek to control familial relations and extensions for many reasons, like politics, financials, business consolidation, and status. As recently as 2017, arranged marriage accounted for 55% of marriages throughout the globe, leaving traditional marriage in the minority. This creates a niche market for private investigators to properly vet potential spouses in countries like India, China, Pakistan, Japan, and Israel to name a few.
Even though arranged marriage is not a major part of Western
culture, that doesn’t mean that engaged individuals in the United States
shouldn’t do their due-diligence when it comes to their life mate. When it
comes to your assets, you should expect facts, not fiction. That’s why hiring a
private investigator to perform a background check on your intended can save a
great deal of heartache and financial distress. Even a basic background check
from a private investigator can unearth risk factors. Private investigators
will pull criminal history, litigation history, credit history, and history of
residence to corroborate proposed facts about your romantic partner. It’s true
that there are many “people finder” databases on the internet that claim their
results are accurate and worth the cost of purchasing the report, and therefore
an individual could conduct a background check themselves. However, private
investigators must comply with specific security protocol and licensing in
order to have access to verified databases on par with certain law enforcement
agencies. This means that the quality of data entry comes with a much higher
degree of accuracy, and will be updated regularly with regards to both public
and private records. “People finder” databases cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, which
may lead to additional misinformation, especially with regards to criminal and
Private investigators also have years of experience that contextualize
available information on a subject. For example, residence history is
traditionally part of a basic background check. If the subject has a long
history of moving between jurisdictions, or from state-to-state in short
periods of time, a private investigator might examine this information—and based
on context—determine that the subject has a history of transience, which could
indicate a lack of reliability or a flight risk. If a subject’s credit history
is consistently poor, that would be a financial red flag that might disqualify
a subject as a spouse.
Private investigators bring valuable contexts to background
investigations that empower individuals to make critical decisions in their private
or corporate life. When two people get married, they often conduct other litmus
tests in order to determine long-term cohabitation, such as blood tests for
their health, or pre-marital counseling to determine their level of preparation.
Background checks are just another measure for you to ensure that your life and
your livelihood are protected.
Divorce and child custody are polarizing topics in the United States. Divorce itself is an ugly business. Two people who stood in front of their friends and families and promised themselves to another now find themselves in a situation where the life they built together is over. Often it is a storm of heightened emotions, personal crises, mediation, negotiation, carping, and resentment. For many, children sit in the eye of the storm, helplessly witnessing the destruction of their family unit around them. As if this were not tumultuous enough, children often become silent pawns between two parents or caregivers who seek to hurt one another. When developing a strategy for navigating a custody situation, caregivers often do not consider the possibility of hiring a private investigator to help build a credible case for sole or partial custody.
Many couples who are on the brink of divorce, or already treading in the harsh current of proceedings, default to the advice of lawyers, the court system, and child services when it comes to issues of custody. There is a myriad of reasons for this, including a parent’s financial means, work schedule, health issues, and ignorance. What’s problematic about leaving issues of custody in the hands of lawyers and the courts is families in turmoil become files in a drawer. The decisions made on behalf of the legal system often rest on the review of a mountain of paperwork; courts relying on police reports, financial/asset summaries, psychological evaluations, et cetera. What’s on paper becomes the load bearing beam for any decision made regarding custody, because caregivers in conflict are both subject to scrutiny in their statements against the other.
Private investigators have a tool chest similar to that of law enforcement allowing them to document a subject’s movements, behavior, and treatment of their children—both prior to divorce proceedings and after. Members of law enforcement are often the most credible investigators in the eyes of the court. However, unless a criminal act is reported, such as domestic violence or child neglect, law enforcement has little to no involvement in custody cases. Parents without those tools at hand are left with little recourse. Any evidence they document themselves is subject to scrutiny by the courts and by opposing counsel as misrepresented, inaccurate, or downright false. In those cases, those parents trying to build a credible case against their co-parent or caregiver can be maligned as malicious by opposing counsel, and those details may prove to be to their detriment.
The number one advantage of hiring a private investigator to document a questionable parent’s behavior is their ability to move through any environment undetected. Despite the fact a study determined there was an excess of 78,000 private investigators employed in the United States alone in 2017, you’ll never see a good one in the field. Private investigators are trained to blend into the crowd and surveil inconspicuously in order to ensure the subject does not modify their behavior for the benefit of being watched. In addition to hiding in plain sight, part of maintaining success in their profession means staying up to date on the best available surveillance technology on the market in order to gather evidence for their cases. Things like cameras disguised as ink pens, or drones with quiet motors that will not be easily detected. Parents are on their very best behavior when in mediation or appearing before a judge, but private investigators can completely upset the current state of a custody case with evidence they uncover in the field. They can document things like abuse and neglect through photographs, video, audio recordings, witness testimony, and the same examination of vital documents that would be performed by the courts. Their training has equipped them to be on the lookout for things like substance dependency, such as alcoholism, drug addiction, or gambling problems. They can also document the opposing caregiver’s living conditions, whether or not the child is clean and well-fed, and their emotional wellness while in the care of said person. What makes a private investigator a particularly valuable asset is they are an objective third-party. Even if they have in fact been paid by one party in a custody case, misrepresentation of facts on their part may mollify their client in the moment, but will ultimately hurt their integrity with future business. Due to this, private investigators can become unimpeachable witnesses to behavior they’ve seen on the part of the opposing side that would damage the child’s well-being.
Private investigators can take on child custody cases at many different levels, all of which can be beneficial to the parent who wishes to establish a case against another parent or caregiver who they perceive to have questionable integrity. As with any investigation, the sooner the process of documenting and gathering evidence starts, the stronger a foundation the parent will have when they present their case before a judge. Parents who are considering divorcing a co-parent or caregiver and intend to establish a pattern of unfitness should consult a private investigator right away. The subject is more likely to proceed as they would normally prior to news that their partner is taking them to court. While the subject may not suspect they are being legally surveilled during a divorce proceeding, they are aware of the fact that—at a minimum—their behavior and actions during that time will be taken under consideration by the courts. The time to start collecting evidence is before divorce papers are drawn up and served.
However, it’s no mystery circumstances may not allow for this. Events prompting divorce proceedings may be very sudden, allowing no time for a hyper-covert investigation on behalf of the client. Parents who are in abusive relationships may not have access to the financial resources for this kind of initiative. As such, many private investigators enter the case when divorce is already a reality and custody proceedings are in full swing. One of the major criticisms of the court system in custody cases is children are often defaulted to the custody of their mothers, leaving fit fathers or other caregivers with few options. In one such example, an investigator from Indianapolis, IN was hired to investigate the parental fitness of a mother fighting her ex-husband and his parents for custody of their eight-year-old daughter. The child was shuttled back and forth between her mother and father’s respective homes for a few months while family court proceedings moved at a glacial pace. The father became increasingly concerned about his daughter while she was in her mother’s custody, and hired a private investigator to find answers. The investigator uncovered the mother’s place of residence on the record was dilapidated, dirty, and not at all a suitable environment for a child. Additionally, the investigator found the mother’s new husband had a criminal record, regularly used drugs, and had questionable judgement when it came to things like social media interaction and encounters with law enforcement. This led to the father retaining full custody of his daughter, with the mother being allowed only supervised visits. This investigative strategy is a two-way street, meaning that a parent who has been falsely accused of abuse or neglect in order to limit access to their child can hire a private investigator to disprove these claims, document the proper living conditions for the child in question, and secure evidence of malicious intent on behalf of the caregiver making false allegations.
Children should never be used as chess pawns in a messy divorce. Ultimately, any child custody investigation should be about the child’s safety and well-being—not about which parent is righteous in their indignation. A private investigator’s expertise, testimony, and lack of bias can shine a crisp, contextual light on the muddied waters of a child custody case.
One of the most critical things private investigators do is collect and compile pertinent information to help bolster a legal case. Whether it’s to provide evidence of insurance fraud in a corporate investigation case or gather the proof needed to tip the scales in a child custody situation, the records filed in court can mean the difference between a nail-biter and a slam-dunk case. That said, there are certain things one should understand about court records before proceeding, including how to leverage them to help bolster your investigation. Let’s take a look.
They’re accessible to anyone. Unlike many other means that private investigators use to check the background of a subject, court records do not require any special permission to access them. They are public record and available to anyone who requests access.
They contain factual and reliable information.In most cases, court records contain information that is obtained under oath, including depositions, sworn statements, allegations, affidavits and proceedings. Because these documents are taken under oath, the info contained within is considered to be reliable and accurate, which makes them incredibly valuable to private investigators.
There are two different types of court records – state and federal. Each typically handles its own categories of offenses. For example, state court hears civil cases, such as divorce, child custody and small claims. Federal court handles higher-level scenarios, such as immigration, social security and any federal law that’s been violated.
Having all possible names is important. If you’re looking for information about a particular person in court records, the more identifying data you have, the better your chances. For instance, many people have nicknames and some have used aliases throughout their lives. Experienced private investigators know how to dig up these details when performing research.
Different types of cases will include different information. Court records for civil cases will typically only contain the name of the parties involved. Other identifying data, such as date of birth and social security number will usually not be included. This can pose a challenge for situations in which the party in question has a common name. Federal cases contain more details.
Searching multiple databases can provide better results.The problem with many court records is that they were completed and filed by humans, which means mistakes could have been made in the process. This is why private investigators cross-check multiple sources to help identify errors, omissions and other incorrect information and hone in on what’s accurate.
Going directly to the court house is the most effective option.While the internet has made searching court documents and other legal databases much easier, the only way to access actual court records is to visit the court in person.
When it comes to finding information and making a case stronger, court records can provide the ammunition needed. Understanding what these filings mean as well as how to best search and access them can make pulling the information you’re after much easier and more efficient. Of course, nothing replaces the services of skilled, seasoned private investigators. If you need assistance with anything from a basic background check to a detailed personal or corporate investigation, Lauth Investigations International, Inc. can help. Give us a call today at 800-889-3463to discuss your specific needs.