Using Private Investigators in High-Net-Worth Custody Battles

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jul 28, 2023 | 0 Comments

What Is a Private Investigator?

We've all seen spy movies or crime thrillers where an envelope is handed to someone with photos detailing their every move. The character goes white in the face when they realize that they were and are being watched. Although actual private investigators come without all the cinema magic, they can play an important role in high-net-worth divorces, especially when they involve child custody battles.

What Are Considered High Net Worth Divorces?

Although every divorce proceeding is unique, high-net-worth divorces are typically divorces that involve a couple with significant assets. Examples include the division of major assets such as multiple properties, boats, intellectual property, copyrights, planes, a fleet of cars, significant savings, stocks, etc.

Just like any divorce, children of high-net-worth couples are likely caught in the crossfires of emotion and familial changes. Many high-net-worth divorces involve prominent community figures. These divorces also tend to drag on and on through continuous litigation because there are more assets to divide and the parties are more capable of funding ongoing attorney fees.

How Can a Private Investigator Help My Custody Battle?

Income and Assets

In high-net-worth divorces, one party may attempt to hide some assets as a tactic to reduce alimony payments or increased child support obligations. Some private investigation firms will also employ financial investigators, referred to as forensic accountants, who can help uncover hidden funds in undisclosed bank accounts, offshore accounts, real estate holdings, fictitious businesses, etc.

Lifestyle Assessments

Private investigators can also help by conducting surveillance to gather evidence about a parent's behavior and living conditions. Are they drunk at a bar or lounge every single night? Do they routinely bring any dangerous friends or family members over to their home? These activities and habits are useful information because they feed the court more information about your child's potential well-being and safety while under their care.

Parental Neglect

If you suspect that your child is often neglected while under your ex-partner's care, a private investigator can work to document existing neglect. For example, is your ex-partner frequently late picking them up from school or feeding them fast food for dinner every night? Are your child's emotional and medical needs met under their care or do they miss doctors' appointments or therapy sessions?

Is the Evidence Collected by the Private Investigator Admissible In Court?

It depends. Any evidence gathered by a private investigator must have been legally collected or observed. Evidence is also only admissible if it is allowed under The New Jersey Rules Of Evidence. A good private investigator will adhere to these limits and conduct their investigations with admissibility in mind. Oftentimes, many family law firms will suggest private investigation firms that they have had good professional experience with previously to ensure that their clients are not wasting money on a service that ends up being inadmissible and useless in the overall custody battle. If you have questions about hiring a private investigator, contact the Lento Law Firm Family Law Team today for help navigating this process.

New Jersey Child Custody Attorney

Although high-net-worth divorces can be increasingly complex, the Lento Law Firm Family Law Team can help you navigate all of the intricacies of your case while still maintaining focus on your child's well-being and safety throughout the entire process. Our team also has extensive experience working with private investigators, maximizing your chances of success in court. Contact us today by calling (888) 535-3686 or by using our online contact form.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings! He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and protects their interests.


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience practicing Family Law in New Jersey. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Family Law Attorney Joseph Lento will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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