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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 04-07-2015, 02:36 PM
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Default Thoughts on hiring a private investigator

I was given legal advice to hire a private investigator, and would be interested in people's thoughts. I don't cherish the idea of doing this.

Background: Going through a spousal support review. Ex has falsified documents saying she lives alone. She has lived with new boyfriend for 1.5 years. Re-partnering is grounds for SS reduction and even termination, according to my lawyer. I have asked my lawyer how I go about proving she is lying. Response: hire a PI for two weeks.

I have no problem with her new partner. He seems nice and is good with the kids. But I am worried about the obvious negative (sleaze/snoop) perception and the considerable cost to do this. I don't know how else to reliably prove this cohabitation. The lawyer says getting affidavits from neighbours will not likely work, and I have not found a mailing address.

Should I hire a PI? Thoughts welcome.
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Old 04-07-2015, 02:46 PM
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Find out the cost of a PI, and compare it to the SS you might save, should you be successful in court.

Best case scenario - the PI doesn't take too long or cost too much to dig up good evidence for the boyfriend living with your ex, and the judge agrees with you and terminates SS.

Worst case scenario - you pay the PI for two weeks, don't get much useable evidence, lose in court and keep paying SS.

Have you spoke to any PIs to get an estimate of the cost to hire one? Have you tried to do some investigating yourself? Does your separation agreement have an SS termination clause for repartnering, or are you just assuming it's a good reason to go to court? Was SS awarded to compensate your ex for career damage and repartnering is irrelevant?

The answers to these questions will help you decide if the cost of the PI is worth the possible savings in terminating SS.
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Old 04-07-2015, 02:57 PM
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Re-partnering is not necessarily grounds for reducing or terminating SS. What specifically does your divorce order say about it? (Don't just rely on your lawyer - anything that could lead to more legal action is money in his/her pocket, so s/he may not be objective. Read the order yourself). If the order says clearly and unambiguously that SS will end when the recipient enters a cohabiting or marital relationship, then think about the cost/benefit ratio of hiring a private investigator.

Proving that he lives at the same address as your ex is easy; proving that he's a cohabiting partner rather than just a roommate is where it could get sleazy.
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Old 04-07-2015, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rioe View Post
Have you spoken to any PIs to get an estimate of the cost to hire one? .
Not yet.
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Originally Posted by Rioe View Post
Have you tried to do some investigating yourself?
Ex lives across the street. I see boyfriend's car parkied outside everyday. My children mention him regularly.

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Originally Posted by Rioe View Post
Does your separation agreement have an SS termination clause for repartnering, or are you just assuming it's a good reason to go to court?
Not, not in the agreement, but regardless my lawyer believes it is highly relevant.

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Was SS awarded to compensate your ex for career damage and repartnering is irrelevant?
Compensatory SS was not specified, but it is what my ex is arguing.
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Old 04-07-2015, 02:58 PM
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Plus, 1.5 years is not long. People break up at any time. One would think a "repartnering" clause would be marriage or even listed as common law on taxes.
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Old 04-07-2015, 03:06 PM
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Plus, 1.5 years is not long. People break up at any time. One would think a "repartnering" clause would be marriage or even listed as common law on taxes.
This is what I thought, but my lawyer, who I trust, says otherwise.
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Old 04-07-2015, 03:10 PM
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If you don't have a clause about ending SS when the recipient enters a new relationship, I think it would be quite dicey to try to end it on grounds which aren't in your agreement. The fact that your lawyer believes it is "highly relevant" without anything to back it up in your divorce order doesn't inspire confidence in your lawyer.

Your ex could say, quite reasonably, that you aren't paying her to stay single, so her personal life is no more relevant to SS than yours is. If you have a review coming up, perhaps instead try to negotiate a step-down arrangement where you gradually reduce SS over a year or so with a set end date, and leave the boyfriend out of it?
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Old 04-07-2015, 03:15 PM
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I'm in a similar situation, but I think the cost of hiring a PI will far outweigh the cost difference in my own situation.

I'm curious to hear anyone's experience though, on hiring one and what kind of proof they were able to come up with proving cohabitation.
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Old 04-07-2015, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stripes View Post
Re-partnering is not necessarily grounds for reducing or terminating SS. What specifically does your divorce order say about it? If the order says clearly and unambiguously that SS will end when the recipient enters a cohabiting or marital relationship, then think about the cost/benefit ratio of hiring a private investigator.
My SA is vague. It does not say anything about repartnering. It simply says that a spousal support review will take place at a certain date, to allow my ex enough time to become gainfully employed. It says that the review will address all issues, including quantum, duration, entitlement if raised, insurance, and any other corollary issues.
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Old 04-07-2015, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OntarioMomma View Post
I'm in a similar situation, but I think the cost of hiring a PI will far outweigh the cost difference in my own situation.
I pay $1500/month in SS. I don't know the cost of a PI yet, but let's say I had to pay 5K. If I was able to terminate SS in the near future or even a year from now, it would be money well spent considering the longterm savings.
I as well would be interested in hearing from someone who took this route.
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