A private investigator can play an important part in a family law case.   Whether it is a spouse who may be cheating or a separated parent who may leaving the children with a sitter to go out at night, a private investigator’s testimony may be the evidence needed to win the case.

There is often nothing more compelling in family court than when a PI is called to the stand and starts talking about what has been discovered.

There are some important thing that you should consider before hiring a PI in your case, here are the top things:

  1. Listen to your lawyer.   If the lawyer thinks it is not time or not worth it, don’t do it.  If your lawyer says it is very important, then find a way to hire the PI.
  2. Budget for it.   A full court press by a PI is expensive.   If you are in litigation make sure you have the funds set aside to cover it.
  3. Know when to stop.
  4. Have a discussion with your attorney about work product and discovery.   It can matter whether it is you who hired the PI or if your attorney has hired the PI.
  5. Don’t be your own private investigator.
  6. Don’t ask family or friends to follow the other party.
  7. Interview at least two private investigators before hiring.
  8. Once the investigation is active, ask for updates.
  9. Don’t ask the PI to do anything illegal.  For example, there are specific laws on recording and/or intercepting electronic communciations.



Scott Allen has practicing law since 1994 and has counseled hundreds of clients through  settlement and tried hundreds of cases.