Divorces are Awful: On the Homes and Rahe Stress Scale divorce is rated the second most stressful event with death of a spouse taking first place and imprisonment taking forth place. The expense, the loss of friends and family, changes in lifestyle and living accommodations, and the potential for losing your children can be devastating. Compound that with allegations of domestic violence, physical or sexual abuse of a child (either falsely accused or misidentified) or adultery can make a bad divorce unbearable. When the average person hears someone talking about having a “bad divorce” this is what they are talking about! Only persons who have gone through such an experience can truly understand what's involved. It can consume your life and in long protracted cases it can actually make you ill. Statistically, about 50% of all marriages in America end up in divorce.
Persons who generally do better during a bad divorce or child custody battle are those who are proactive not reactive. Gathering evidence can be critical for your case either pre-divorce or during a divorce, or modification of divorce. A private investigator In the long run can save you a great deal of money not to mention your children. For example, in the case of adultery, having photographic or videotape evidence of the offending party can have devastating effects and can be profoundly influential (and I don't have to prove this by putting a video camera in their bedroom). In a divorce modification, showing that your spouse continues to drink despite a Court Order prohibiting it and then driving drunk with the kids in the car (which is a felony in Texas if children are present) can put you in the right direction for asking the Judge for custody. It is not uncommon for Judges to award unequal property settlements during a divorce. That might mean the house, attorney fees, as well as the children to the unoffending party. Waiting too long or to the last minute to move your case along is another critical mistake. In complex child custody cases, evidence is gathered from a variety of sources that takes time and expertise to obtain and gather. If you believe a private investigator is needed the earlier he or she begins the better. Once evidence is lost it is usually lost forever.
Evidence, What Evidence?
As a private investigator it is our job to provide the kind of service to you that you ask for. All you might need is that picture of that cheating girlfriend or husband who is staying just a little too late at work. For many people they might just want to know for sure and use the information for closure or to make different decisions. Other times, it may be more complex if the information found may lead to divorce or other child custody action; or, if you are in litigation, providing evidence so it is admissible and has the highest degree of impact possible may be your need. Every situation is different and takes its own course with the personalities involved. Interaction with other agencies, such as Child Protective Services (CPS), or when a Guardian ad Litem is involved are also important variables to consider. Truly, a specialist in divorce and child custody issues is needed to put together all the complex issues and arrange them in a mosaic that makes sense in Court and to you and/or your attorney.
Ok, So what is the difference between a Private Investigator who specializes and one who is a Jack of all Trades?
In Texas there is no educational requirement to be a private investigator. A 2 hour test and three years of legal Investigative experience with essentially no criminal history would qualify a person as a Licensed Private Investigator. Many private investigators attain their experience from police work, or through the military, or perhaps, if they were an insurance investigator. Some I know of are ex-FBI agents. Other potential private investigators gain their 3 years of experience by working under another private investigator until that investigator gets his license to practice and he hires others to work under his private investigator's license, and so on. When it comes to child custody and complex divorces, you really want a private investigator who knows how to handle a problematic or difficult cases - not the retired FBI agent now practicing as a private investigator. For example, a child abuse case associated with drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence requires a certain expertise, not only how to assess and treat, but how a given piece of evidence will play out in Court or have some other cause and effect, i.e.; How will this evidence impact the decision-making of an agency such as Child Protective Services (CPS) or how say, a Guardian ad Litem might consider an issue? Through my years of education and experience, I have had the unique opportunity to gain expertise in the divorce and domestic relations arena with a strong foundation in forensic mental health and in the Texas criminal justice system.
Tom L. Ware, M.Ed., CCCJS-MACe
Licensed Private Investigator, Lic. # A14972
Austin Travis County Courthouse - 1000 Guadalupe St.
Austin, Texas 78701. Family law Courts are held on the 1st through 5th floors.
Now providing services in the Central Texas area including Austin, San Antonio, San Marcos, Temple, Killeen, and Bastrop
An Austin, Texas Private Investigation Agency specializing in Domestic Relations, Pre and Post Divorce Issues, Cheating Spouses, Surveillance, GPS Tracking, Computer Forensics, Child Custody, CPS, Falsely Accused or Misidentified Child Abuse or Child Sexual Abuse, Domestic Violence, Drugs and Alcohol, Mental Health, Parental Alienation, Home Studies, and Family Law
"We catch cheating spouses."
Some Tips on How to Win Child Custody and Survive an Investigation by a Private InvestigatorI
First make sure that the person suspected of being a private investigator is in fact a licensed private investigator and is not your spouse illegally stalking you.
If you believe the individual following you might be a Private Investigator, you can determine if he or she is listed as a private investigator by checking out the Private Security Bureau database here, List of Licensed Texas Private investigators.
If you can obtain the license plate number of the person following you, it is likely that the person can be identified though a database search, and his status as a private investigator can be checked. Please call and I can do that for you.
During divorce and custody suits, never discount the possibility that the other party will hire a private investigator. It is a fair practice and the judges know that some evidence cannot be gotten in any other way. The rule of thumb, especially during contentious custody battles, is to behave in public as if your actions would be seen in the Sunday edition of the Austin American-Statesman. Don’t advertise questionable behavior and watch what you say on Facebook and other social networks. It is amazing what people write or post to some social networks, and they give pictures too – very helpful to an investigator.
Be vigilant of your surroundings both at home and while out in public. Take notice of unfamiliar cars or vans parked near your house. An experienced private investigator with a good camera can get a picture a ½ a mile away. If you think you are being followed, make a U-turn and see if the suspicious car follows you.
Keep track for your garbage – private investigators love to go through garbage and this can be quite effective and legal. Once you leave your garbage at the curb you no longer claim ownership of it and anybody can take it.
If you are married and your spouse has part ownership of the vehicle you drive, a GPS tracker can legally be placed on your car (actually it is both party’s car) and your movements tracked in real time. This can be devastating to a cheating spouse, or for an ex to be located at a bar just prior to picking up the children from school. If your children have cell phones, check the cell phone for GPS tracking apps. Many carriers have family locate plans which can be used to locate the owner.
It would be illegal for a private investigator to bug your house with audio devices but in some circumstances, video cameras can be used. Also, it would be illegal to tap your phone, intercept your emails, or break computer passwords unless a subpoena is issued or the private investigator has the owner’s permission – the one who actually wrote the emails.
An attorney can often sequester computers when questionable materials are thought to be on a spouse’s computer. Keep in mind that most deleted files can still be recovered by a private investigator. It almost takes military quality software to completely clean a hard drive. Do not allow computer repairmen to search computers for the purposes of gathering evidence. It is illegal because you must be a licensed private investigator to do so and their techniques are not evidentiary sound. However, if the repairman were to come across evidence of child pornography while fixing the computer, they are mandated to contact the police.
The process of forensically checking a computer starts with the computer being sequestered, sometimes at the courthouse, but most of the time at one of the attorney’s office. A private investigator investigating the contents on a hard drive does so by taking a mirror image of the hard drive, essentially keeping a 2nd exact copy, while preserving the original for evidential purposes. Google keeps a record of all your emails unless you physically delete them – a prime place to look for information, although this still takes a subpoena.
Cell phones can also have their deleted files recovered; it too takes a subpoena if text messages are sought. However, obtaining phone numbers located in a cell phone does not trigger the rules pertaining to the interception of a communication by a 3rd party, which is illegal.
If you have never talked to a private investigator, it is a simple process. Simply call and I will be happy to talk with you about your situation. The conversation is confidential and free with no hi pressure sales pitch. After you decide to enlist in our services, I will have our Program Manager contact you and get all the import details. Afterwards, an investigator will be assigned to your case, and many times we can get started within a day, "Experience the TLW difference."
Newscast of TLW Guardian Investigations in action!!!
Be your own Private Eye and Catch that Cheater
Do you have a nagging suspicion about your spouse or significant other? Do you feel like they may be cheating on you? Whether you live here in Austin, Texas or in any other city in the country- the clues that cheating spouses leave are often overlooked. If you decide not to hire a professional private investigator, or if you want to gather some evidence yourself first, here’s how to catch a cheater.
If you suspect that your husband or wife is going somewhere when they tell you they are going to be home, put a penny on the back tire of their car. If it’s still there when you come back, they stayed home. (or at least their car did!) Better yet- if you have ownership of the vehicle they are driving you can use a real time GPS tracking device to tell you where they went. They are very accurate, with a margin of error that is small enough to at least establish the street where he/she is parked, if not the exact address. TLW Guardian Investigations uses only the best real time GPS tracking devices, but you can do it yourself if you have ownership in the car. Private investigators use GPS trackers on a regular basis these days, and use the information from the device to zero in more efficiently on surveillance.
If you have access to the phone bill, you can do a reverse look up on the phone number. Private investigators have databases that aren’t available to the general public, but you can still do it yourself and get some accurate information back. Google reverse cell look-up or call TLW Guardian Investigations at 512-653-1021 to get a cell phone number looked up.
There is a free service called Slydial. http://www.slydial.com/
Call 267-SLYDIAL from any cell phone. This service will patch you directly into someone’s voice mail, hopefully telling you who belongs to that number. Their phone will never ring and there will be no trace of your call on caller ID. Do NOT use this service from a landline as your number will show up on their caller ID if you do!
If you suspect your spouse is having someone come to the house when you’re gone, you can set a camera. If you’re in Austin, go to Spy Exchange at 9513 Burnet Rd Austin, TX 78758 (512) 719-3595. Remember, you can NOT set a camera in a bathroom or bedroom. And you can not set a camera that captures audio. You can place a motion activated camera in your yard to capture who comes and goes, or a small covert camera in your living area, kitchen area or other common areas.
Check your trash. You would be amazed at what people throw away- receipts for romantic lunches, dinners and hotels, jewelry receipts, etc. Check the trash in every room in the house, and if you have ownership of the car he/she drives, check there, too. Check the glove box, trunk and under the seats. While you’re there, check for a second cell phone. Many cheaters have a second cell phone that they keep hidden somewhere in the car.
NEVER confront your spouse with your suspicions. They will only go to further extremes to hide what they are doing. The best way to catch a cheater is to act as if everything is fine.
At TLW Guardian Investigations, we always explain to our clients that the best way to have a successful outcome is for us do the investigating. Once we have solid proof, then they can decide what to do with it. And if you can’t catch them, or you have caught them but need solid admissible evidence, call us to help. Catching cheaters is business as usual for us.