Private Investigation Can Help in Proving Cohabitation
If your former spouse is living with someone, it can change everything. Child support obligations, child custody agreements, and (if it’s not finalized yet) even your divorce settlement could be up in the air. Whatever your reason, proving that your ex-husband or wife is living with someone is a common request that private investigators handle – so common in fact, that there’s a 5-step procedure they follow to obtain proof that can be used in a legal setting. If you’re looking to prove cohabitation, here’s what you’ll need to do.
1. Conduct Surveillance
Surveillance is going to get you the majority of your evidence in a case like this. The goal is to get evidence that your spouse is spending the night with someone else at the same residence continually. To do this, the best way is generally to get photos of your spouse’s vehicle (and hopefully your ex-spouse too), at an address overnight, on consecutive nights, over a long period of time. To get these photos you can either wait near the residence in question (not recommended – check your local laws to make sure this is ok) or hire a private investigator to do this for you. By building evidence relating to where your ex-spouse spends the night (which is presumably with a partner), you can establish that they are cohabiting with someone. If you use a private investigator for this step, you can also have them testify in court for you too, further backing up your case.
2. Identify the Key Individuals
This is relatively straightforward – but very important in proving cohabitation. Once you (or your investigator) has collected evidence that your ex-spouse has been staying overnight at a residence with someone, you’ll need to clearly identify them in a way that links them to the evidence you have. Think about it this way – you don’t want your spouse to say that the house she’s staying at is her sisters, or that the person staying over is her sister. This evidence can take the form of photographs, records of vehicles visiting the residence, or some other method that ties them to a certain place.
3. Interview Neighbors
You’re on a roll now. You’ve got evidence of your ex-partner staying the night somewhere (or someone staying with them) repeatedly, and you’ve clearly identified the people involved. Now it’s time to start gathering testimony from neighbors and friend. This is one of the last steps in building an airtight case. Ask neighbors and other associates of your former spouse questions that could lead a judge to believe they are cohabitating with someone, and record the answers. Their answers will hopefully back up your case – or at least provide you with leads for you (or your investigator) to look into.
4. Run a Background Check
If your former spouse has moved in somewhere (or someone has moved in with them) a background check could provide evidence that they’re sharing an address. A good background check will be able to show a person’s current address based on a recent bill, where their car is registered, and much more.
A little further research into their financial affairs can help out too – for instance by showing that your former spouse and their new partner are sharing financial obligations like rent or bills. This alone won’t prove cohabitation – but it will help build a preponderance of evidence that will support your claims.
Cohabitation Can Have Many Impacts on Child Custody and Alimony
If your former spouse changes their living arrangements, it can have important implications for your alimony or custody obligations. Because cohabitation is such an important factor in determining custody and alimony arrangements, you’re likely to get a flat denial from your spouse if you ask them to admit to their new relationship (and living) arrangements straight out. Fortunately, you’re not the first person to face this problem. Follow the steps laid out here (or better yet, get an investigator to do it – it’s cheaper to hire one than you might think), and you’ll have the proof you need to prove cohabitation.