If you’re going through a divorce and believe your spouse is hiding something, you may be tempted to hire a private investigator.
Whether or not you should depend on the information you are trying to obtain. While employing a private investigator is common on TV, it’s rarely worth the time or money to enlist the services of a PI in a Hawaii divorce case.
Hawaii is a no-fault divorce state, which means that a judge won’t make any decisions regarding whether either spouse’s actions were right or wrong during the marriage. So even if you suspect your spouse is having an affair and hiding it, it won’t affect who gets custody of your children or how your property is divided.
In addition, most of the information you need will be revealed during the discovery phase or the custody evaluation process. If you believe your spouse is concealing assets, it’s usually easier to confirm through formal discovery requests or a forensic accountant and/or by subpoenaing a financial institution, or any entity that has that information.
If you believe your spouse is not telling the truth about how they are caring for your child, that information will likely become clear through the work of a guardian ad litem or a custody evaluator.
One of the few times it might be worth hiring a private investigator is if you suspect your spouse is exposing your child to a dangerous or abusive situation or person and that information hasn’t yet been proven. However, even in such cases, a private investigator’s credibility may be questioned as biased because they are paid by one party and not appointed by the court.
Do you need legal assistance with any aspect of a divorce? Seth Harris, senior associate with the PMK Family Law Division, provides sound legal advice and a compassionate ear. Contact him at Family@HawaiiLegal.com or go to www.hawaiilegal.com for more information.