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In Georgia, a private investigator is a licensed professional who must be a member of or affiliated with a licensed an investigation or security company regulated and licensed by The Georgia Board of Private Detective and Security Agencies. Although many people automatically associate the use of a private investigator during the divorce process with the need to uncover adulterous behavior on the part of one spouse, there are many other reasons to solicit the services of a licensed private investigator during your Georgia divorce.
Not only can private investigators provide photographs, recordings, videos, and names of the individuals that your spouse has engaged in extramarital relationships with, but private investigators can also perform background checks on your spouse and his or her paramour, search for hidden assets, analyze computer hard drives for hidden emails or web searches, or uncover evidence of physical or emotional child abuse that your spouse has attempted to uncover in the past. In addition to collecting relevant and legally admissible evidence that may be used against your spouse in the divorce proceeding, a private investigator can also testify at your divorce trial or other related hearing, and give firsthand testimony of what he or she observed or heard your spouse doing. The testimony of a private investigator is particularly useful to explain to the judge or jury hearing the evidence in your divorce case how he or she uncovered the evidence that is being presented, and to explain the circumstances surrounding any recorded actions or statements of your spouse that are being presented as evidence.
If you are not sure whether hiring a private investigator to aid you in your divorce case is warranted, speak with a Georgia divorce attorney so that he or she may assess your case to determine if a private investigator is necessary to uncover valuable evidence. If you have already decided that you need a private investigator for your divorce or child custody matter how, below are a few tips concerning how to choose the best private investigator for your matter:
- First and foremost make sure your private investigator is licensed. As mentioned above, private investigators in Georgia must be licensed by The Georgia Board of Private Detective and Security Agencies. A licensed private investigator should be able to produce a copy of his or her license for you or at least providence his or her license number.
- Like any other professional service, the private investigator you choose should provide you with a contract that includes exactly what services they will perform and what fees they will charge for those services.
- Similar to attorneys, most private investigators charge by the hour. In this case, it may be difficult for a private investigator to quote you an exact fee for their services, because the exact amount depends on the extent of work to be performed. However, before you retain a provide investigator, he or he should be able to quote you his or her hourly rate as well as a reasonable estimate of how many hours it should take to get you the information you need. The cost normally associated with a private investigator may range from $500 to $5000.
- Obtain references from the private investigators former clients. Obtaining these references will help you determine the level of the provide investigators experience.
- Make sure the private investigator you choose is bonded and has liability insurance. A reputable private investigator should be able to provide proof of both. Once retained by you, the private investigator is acting as your agent when he or she is investigating your case. Thus, if he or she damages someone else’s property in the process, you could become liable if the investigator does not have adequate insurance.
Hiring a private investigator may be a costly endeavor, especially if there are several issues that need to be investigated. With this being said, ensure that you discuss the necessity of hiring a private investigator with an experienced divorce attorney prior to making this important decision. Although the services of a private investigator may be invaluable during the divorce process, the costs associated with a private investigator’s services may outweigh the benefit that may be derived, depending on the specific facts and circumstances of your particular case.