Private Eye: Love and divorce in the city, who you gonna call?

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Cheating, alas, is the trending topic of modern life. From the previous three parts of Private Eye, you’ll now be able to identify how he cheats and she cheats, and some methods of confirming your suspicions, or allaying them.

But the best thing you can do for you, your children, and your possessions is to hire a reputable investigator with years of solid experience.

After all, this type of investigative work needs to be covert so that your spouse or partner is unaware that you are having him or her followed.

Just as a private investigator can confirm your worst fears, this person may also be able to dismiss your fears, finding that your spouse is in fact working late or just interested in better health (hence the sessions at the gym).

Now, if you can prove in a court of law that your spouse is cheating, the behaviour of your spouse would probably gain you the sympathy of the trial judge when it comes to deciding on the custody of the children and the division of property.

You can find a number of private investigators via Google or similar searches, but we suggest you conduct in-depth research before making a final decision.

Just as you might find an inexpensive investigator that offers great services, you might also pay a fortune for someone incompetent. It’s vital that you do your homework.

If you know of someone who’s gone through an affair and hired an investigator, you may ask for suggestions. No matter how you locate a private investigator, always ask for references and then check them out.

This person should be able to provide you with a guarantee of secrecy, along with a full report so you have grounds on which to stand in a court of law.

As a side note, be aware that many private investigators neither advertise nor belong to trade organisations.

If you cannot find a good investigator, you might contact a divorce lawyer to ask for recommendations.

Signs of a shady PI

1. He is unable to give any references.

2. He cannot work out a complete game plan to solve your problem. He is vague when you ask him what exactly is needed to be done for your case. This normally indicates a lack of experience.

3. Though charging fees upfront is the norm for this industry, the PI is very pushy in getting you to engage him and to start paying fees.

4. He seems inordinately young.

Dealing with the PI

Right from the start, tell him what you want done and find out how much it will cost. He should be able to provide you with an accurate estimate and should never exceed this amount unless you’re notified beforehand.

Do you connect with the PI? Does he understand your situation? Does he maintain eye contact? Do you feel comfortable? You’re trusting him with the confidentiality of your situation as well as the information he uncovers, which may affect many of the people closest to you. He should treat your case with sensitivity.

Is his conversation free of any patronising or condescending remarks? Do you feel comfortable enough to ask all your questions? Are his answers satisfying?

A good private investigator is as professional in the delivery of information as he is in gathering it. As his client, you should feel he is looking out for your best interests.

The first meeting

What should you bring to the initial meeting? All relevant documents and information, and be prepared to summarise your needs.

For example, Anna wants to have surveillance conducted on her husband. For her consultation, Anna should provide an accurate description of him (bring a recent photo) and his car, as well as any significant addresses, such as his office, local hangouts, friends’ houses, etc. You should also provide a 24-hour scenario of what his typical day is like.

Don’t worry if you forget something. This is just the first step towards hiring someone. You’re just gathering information about service, fees and the investigator himself. The investigator will walk you through the process and what he or she needs to do his job.

The initial consultation should be free, which will relieve you of the decision-making pressure. And you should feel comfortable giving yourself time to evaluate your needs with the new information you have gathered from your consultation.

If you decide to use this particular agency, you will schedule a follow-up meeting to begin the process. You can provide the additional information at that time.

Remember that you can rely on a good private investigator. Besides handling the situation with professionalism, he may be able to refer you to a lawyer, doctor, therapist or other useful specialists.

Also, remember that you’re making the first step toward empowering yourself in order to resolve issues that may be preventing you from living happily. You deserve it.

This is the fourth and final part of this series of Private Eye on Love and Divorce. Midas is our new weekly columnist on crime, security, private investigation, urban survival skills and related matters.

Midas is a private security and intelligence firm based in Kuala Lumpur. Its operatives include ex-military intelligence and ex-police personnel, ex-lawyers and civilian analysts.

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Read other stories in the Private Eye series

Private Eye:The unmarrying man

Private Eye: Side dishes and cheating women

Private Eye: Love and divorce in the city