a division of Discovery Groups, LLC
Discovery Detective Group
Do I need an attorney to file for divorce? If both parties can reasonably agree to separation of property and a parenting plan if there are minor children, a simple court filing may be fine. However, if either party is not being reasonable and there are substantial assets and maintenance due, it is recommended to have an attorney from the onset to properly represent your interests. A Divorce attorney should be a Family Law Specialist and one that says they will also litigate in court on your behalf.
If you are contemplating getting a divorce; before you make accusations or serve your spouse with legal separation or divorce papers, get prepared first. Enlist the help of an investigator to gather and document needed evidence. Make copies of all bank statements, credit bureaus, insurance policies, investment portfolios, vehicles owned, properties, address books... because once you file for divorce you may lose access to these items making it extremely expensive and difficult to prove in court if your partner hides or sells the assets.
As investigators we take this information you gathered and then do a comprehensive asset investigation documenting the joint and individual assets prior to you filing for divorce. This gives you and your attorney the proof needed to get a fair settlement before assets can be hidden. Later we can do follow-up investigation as needed and testify in court to our findings.
Do I have to prove infidelity to get a divorce? No. All states now offer a version of a No Fault divorce. This means you do not have to prove there was infidelity or wrong doing on one spouses part. No fault generally means you have irreconcilable differences which means your marriage is not working. Some states allow you to also add wrong doing as part of the cause of divorce but it is not necessary to get a divorce.
As investigators we often gather evidence of infidelity for one spouse or partner. This is usually to confirm their suspicions and for them to make an educated decision on how they want to handle this information. It may later be used in a court case. Cheating and unethical behavior can be used in court towards character, it is just not used as a basis for divorce.
We use various methods to gather our evidence, from stakeout, surveillance, undercover contacts, research, GPS and hidden cameras or a combination of these.
What if I was abandoned and can't find my spouse or partner to serve divorce papers on? Some states have abandonment laws but with no fault divorce you can file immediately without waiting one year for them to return. Consult with an attorney as to your best filing options based on your circumstances.
You do have to try to get them served the divorce papers even if you do not know where they are. This is where an investigator can help by doing a locate investigation and try to effect service. If they can not locate and serve the party, an investigator will give you an affidavit of due diligence to take to the court to ask the judge for alternative service. This usually entails publishing it in a newspaper or certified mailing and posting at the last known address. When this is complete the court may give you a date and if the other party does not show you win your divorce on grounds of default.
We can work for you directly, for your attorney, or for you and with your attorney having input and direction as to what they need for court.