In a domestic investigation, a private investigator works for a client who needs evidence in a personal or domestic matter. The private investigator uses their professional skills and experience to uncover relevant information for the client to use. In some cases, the client may want the information for their own private use. In other cases, the client needs the evidence for a legal proceeding, for example, to use as evidence to show fault in a divorce proceeding.
Domestic investigations often involve finding proof that a partner has been cheating on the client. However, infidelity investigations are not the only type of domestic investigations. Domestic investigators may also be called upon to help in child custody and support cases, to conduct background checks on caregivers, to gather evidence of stalking, to find proof of domestic abuse, and to determine if suspicions about the drug use of a family member are correct.
A private investigator uses a wide range of techniques to gather information. An ethical PI firm, like the Barefoot Professional Investigations Agency in Charlotte, North Carolina, is always careful to stay strictly within the lines of the law. That means, for example, that private investigators cannot intercept mail or break into homes. However, a good PI has many effective and legal techniques at their disposal.
What Private Investigators Do in Domestic Investigations
Assess the Case
The first thing a PI will do in a new domestic investigation is talk to the client, find out exactly what the client wants, and then give the client a clear assessment of what the PI can do for the client and what the client can expect.
Understand the Law
If the investigation is going to search for evidence that will be used in a legal proceeding, for example, a divorce, then the PI will review the relevant laws to find out precisely what kind of evidence will be required in the proceeding.
Search Social Media and Other Sites Online
Before heading out into the field, the private investigator can learn a lot about the target subject by searching their social media feeds and using other tools, such as street view in Google Maps, to get background information about the subject and where they might be found.
Interview Witnesses and Other People Who May Have Useful Information
An experienced private investigator will be a skilled interviewer. They know how to put an interview subject at ease so that the person will trust the PI and be more likely to open up and reveal what they know. During an interview, the PI also pays attention to the witnesses’ body language, which can give clues as to whether they are telling the truth or lying.
Stakeouts may look exciting in the movies, but in reality, they require a lot of patience. Private investigators may have to wait a long time before the target subject appears. Meanwhile, the PI must stay alert the whole time so that they can be sure not to miss the subject if they suddenly appear. Once the subject has been spotted, the PI can gather video and still photographic evidence using powerful but small and easy-to-hide digital cameras.
If the target subject is on the move, the PI may need to follow in their car. The PI has to follow at the right distance. If they are too far away, they can lose the subject. But if they are too close, the subject may realize they are being tailed. Meanwhile, the PI also has to pay attention to the road so that they don’t have an accident while focusing on the subject. Getting this exactly right requires a great deal of skill and experience.
As part of a domestic investigation, a PI will provide the client with detailed documented evidence. If this evidence is to be used in court, it must comply with the relevant North Carolina statutes.
Jan Barefoot established the Barefoot Professional Investigations Agency more than 30 years ago. It is now the premier private detective agency in Charlotte, North Carolina, widely recognized as one of the most ethical PI agencies in the Southeast. When you need discreet domestic investigative services for either personal use or for evidence to be used in court, contact us to find out more about how we can help.