Many people ask if they should hire a private detective. My standard answer is that it is always good to hire a detective if you have the resources. Detectives are not particularly expensive in the scheme of things. They usually charge by the hour at a rate that is typically one-third that of lawyers. My experience is that if the detective is properly briefed and prepared, he will catch the adultery right away if there is adultery. My experience is that if the detective does not catch the adultery right away it is usually best to call off the search. Either the person is not committing adultery or they are doing it in a way that makes it tough to catch.
The next question is, “Will it make any difference?” From a personal standpoint, I think it makes a big difference. Oftentimes, a person is subjected to treatment by their spouse that doesn’t make any sense or is cruel. A person may spend months worrying about what they may have done wrong in their marriage. If a person finds out for sure their spouse is guilty of adultery, this can lay to rest a lot of the mystery and wondering about what went wrong. So, it can create peace of mind.
From a legal standpoint, the significance of catching someone in adultery is a complicated question, the answer to which differs from state to state and even judge to judge. In fault-based states, catching someone in adultery can lead to a fault-based complaint. This can also create negotiation “leverage.” In addition, adultery can be a factor in a judge’s determination of division of assets and alimony. Adultery can even result in a loss of alimony rights. In no-fault states, the significance is lessened, but it may create a moral high ground in negotiations or in court which may positively influence the result.