An issue that often comes up in cases where one spouse suspects the other of hiding assets or income is the related suspicion of extra business activities. For example, your spouse might have a day job, but you also suspect him or her of moonlighting at some side business.
Depending on how much activity you suspect, you may decide to pursue an investigation. Hiring a private detective is an option, though it can be expensive. When you add that cost to your regular legal fees and costs, such as appraisal and other discovery costs, you want to resort to a private detective only if you think it is impossible to find information on your own. Usually, there are some steps you can first take on your own to see what information you can find.
Do-it-yourself investigations involve combing through the records you have available to you. If you suspect your spouse of having a secret business partner, dig up your phone records to see if there are any numbers you don’t recognize. You can search for the identity of phone number users on the Internet. Also look through your bank statements to see if there are withdrawals and deposits that aren’t explained by your spouse’s reported income. If you and your attorney think it is absolutely necessary, you can consider following your spouse to see with whom he or she associates, but obviously you should not do so if you fear risk of injury to yourself.
If you have exhausted your avenues for doing the investigation yourself, and still are seeking information, then you should consider hiring a detective. However, you should seriously consider whether uncovering the information will be relevant to your divorce case, or if it will simply satisfy a sense of revenge or other psychological pleasure. Detectives are expensive, as are the costs of some of their search tools. Therefore, do not make this choice lightly.
Just as you want to get as much information about your spouse’s activities as possible, you should reveal all information about yourself that might impact your divorce to your attorney. Whether this information is about your finances, or information about addictions or other personal issues, being truthful with your attorney allows him or her to represent you as effectively as possible. Any communications with your divorce attorney are confidential, so your attorney will not share them with anyone unless you give your attorney permission.
If you are in need of more information or want to consult with one of our attorneys, please contact the Pennsylvania divorce lawyers of Petrelli Previtera Schimmel, LLC at (215) 523-6900.