Divorce is a difficult time for everyone involved. Not just because of the emotional stress, but also the complexities at each step. From the initial petition and grounds for divorce through to custody, financial settlements and ongoing maintenance and contact – there are several areas where disputes can arise.
Needless to say, professional help can be hugely valuable through these complexities and disputes. Not just from a divorce solicitor, but from a professional partner & matrimonial investigator. Read on to find out how private investigation can help with your divorce case.
Grounds for divorce
The first step in any divorce is the petition. Put simply, this is the application for divorce made by either party. A key part of that petition are the grounds for divorce. You need to have legitimate grounds to end any marriage in the UK. That can be from one of five categories:
- Two years separation with your partner’s consent
- Five years separation without your partner’s consent
- Unreasonable behaviour
In an amicable split, couples will usually separate for two years then apply for divorce with no fault. They simply agree that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and they have separated, both consenting to the divorce.
However, things aren’t always that simple. When partners don’t cooperate, you may need to provide your own grounds for divorce and the evidence to back them up. Or you might need to go the extra mile to get their consent. This is the first instance where a private investigator can help.
Cheating partners are a common ground for divorce. In some cases, people will admit to their infidelity and consent to the divorce. After all, being at fault doesn’t actually have an impact on the custody proceedings or financial settlement. But sometimes, you’ll need to prove it yourself.
That doesn’t mean checking texts and following people around yourself. In most cases, this is simply impractical with your other commitments. Instead, a private investigator can act upon your suspicions to see if your partner really is working late, out with their friends or on a business trip.
We’ll confirm or clear up your suspicions discreetly. In some cases, that means you can continue with your relationship with complete peace of mind. In others, where we find wrongdoing, we’ll provide a full report of their whereabouts, movements and who they’re with, plus photographic and video evidence to back it up.
The most common ground for divorce is unreasonable behaviour. That’s partly because it’s so broad. Unreasonable behaviour can cover anything from a lack of emotional support to reckless behaviour or even domestic abuse. Again, in some cases, this is something private investigators can help with.
Let’s say your partner is constantly away from home. They could be spending money recklessly or just evading their duties as a parent. How do you prove that without their consent? Bank statements could prove their spending if you have access, but there are plenty of ways around this on their end. Our surveillance services could track their activity over days or weeks and provide irrefutable evidence of their behaviour.
Consent or desertion
Maybe you just want to track your partner down? All divorce petitions need to be sent to the defending party, who can then agree, ignore or defend them. If they choose to ignore them, the next step is to have them served in person. Investigation can help in both cases, whether it’s finding their address or their current whereabouts.
People tracing services can also be useful if you’re using desertion as grounds for divorce. This is where your partner leaves the family home but still won’t consent to a divorce. Again, private investigators can track down their whereabouts and prove that they have deserted the family home.
Custody of children
Beyond the petitioner and defendant, many divorces also involve children. As part of the divorce process, parents need to agree the best arrangements for their child or children going forward. If they can’t do so, it’s up to the court to rule what’s best for the child in terms of full custody, shared custody and visitation rights.
However, the courts can only rule based on what they know to be true. Unfortunately, some parents may try to twist the truth when they’re actually acting irresponsibly.
Let’s say your ex-partner applies for full custody of the kids based on them having plenty of time to look after them. But actually, you know they’re going out most nights and leaving the children with a babysitter. Or perhaps they already have the children every weekend but leave them home alone while they’re out on the town.
Rather than making baseless claims, a private investigator can find out exactly what they’re up to when they’re supposed to be looking after your children. Whether it’s during the divorce process or afterwards in a custody appeal, we can give you the evidence to back your case up in court.
As with child custody, financial settlements may need to be decided by the courts if two parties can’t come to an agreement. This settlement, including the splitting of assets and wealth plus ongoing maintenance payments, will be affected by several factors. Does one parent need financial support to look after the children, for instance?
In some cases, standards of living can come into play. If your ex-partner enjoyed a certain lifestyle during the marriage, this may affect the amount they receive off you going forward, allowing them to maintain that standard of living.
However, circumstances can often change. An ex-partner could enter a new relationship, for instance, where they have new financial support. If they don’t declare this, by keeping their existing address despite moving in with their new partner for example, they could continue to receive maintenance payments unfairly.
A private investigator can uncover any undisclosed changes to their lifestyle, whether that’s a new higher paid job or secret living arrangements. That will help you prove their changed situation and request a modification to the financial settlement.
Get expert help with your divorce
Whether it’s grounds for divorce, custody of your kids or a financial matter, divorce can be much easier with a private investigator on your side.