When potential clients contact a Private Investigator about Family Law issues, more often than not they are in extreme pain. They have given everything they know to give, sometimes for decades, to their primary love interest – the one they stood before God and their community and promised to – Love, Honor, and Cherish – “Now and Forever.” And despite their best efforts they failed. They justifiably feel wounded, betrayed, and uncertain as to how to move forward with their own lives, let alone how to deal with the impact on their children, and other family members.
Anyone who has been through this will tell you that despite best efforts to “protect the children”, all kids experience some form of anger, humiliation and/or rejection. Effectively, their hearts have been torn in two because the two adults they love the most cannot get along. Life as we knew it just died – and that sucks.
As well put-together as some people appear on the outside when entering the divorce process, they are only masking the enormous distrust going on in the inside – distrust of themselves and of others. Can anyone blame them?
With the break-up of a relationship comes psychic trauma. The nature of the injury runs the gamut from emotional (always), to physical (sometimes), and financial (oftentimes). At a minimum, these folks desperately want to be listened to, understood, and to be “made whole” again. At that time the first job of any helping professional, be it a Private Investigator or a Life Coach, is to establish sufficient rapport to be able to effectively guide them beyond the murkiness in their space so as to arrive at terra firma again, as quickly and as safely as possible. Together we must figure out:
1. Who they are at their core
2. What they want
3. How best to get them there
Once I have that background of profound rapport where they trust that I understand them and what they want, we can then begin to explore “WHAT” we will be doing together. Typically, my emotionally-charged Family Law clients are seeking one or more of the following:
• Ammunition to ensure a fair division of assets
• Ammunition to protect their children as best they can
• Ammunition to prove the break up “was your fault.”
Once the objective is determined we need to deal with “What is your budget?” In all my years as a PI, unlike my experience as a Life Coach, I have never heard anyone with a Family Law issue respond with a thought-out budget for investigation. The typical response is, “What does something like this cost?” It is not unusual for an already-wounded client to hear this as if he or she is nothing more than a “pay check” to the Investigator.
Akin to any helping professional who supports clients coming to them in severe pain, investigators tend to have caring hearts. There is a natural pull to want to be the “hero” and save the day. Yet there are hard dollar costs involved with investigations, as well as Time, Mileage, Overhead, and the cost one pays for Professional Expertise.
Experience has taught that honest and authentic communications “without any attachment to the outcome” provides a wonderful opportunity to enhance the working relationship. With compassion the PI conveys: “I appreciate the stress and pain you are currently experiencing. I want you to be free of that as quickly and completely as possible.” To accomplish that I am going to present you with:
• Your options
• Their related costs
• The probability of success of each
I will answer all your questions and then ask you to choose which, if any, option(s) best suit you. My intention is to empower you to make an informed decision. Should you choose to not retain my services, I am okay with that too. Does that sound fair?
Ideally, in the act of being empowered to choose the client experiences themselves back in the driver’s seat. With this renewed sense of power we arrive at a satisfactory budget and now begin to implement the plan as a With today’s technologies investigators have a myriad of tools and “toys” available to develop all sorts of information. Some are legal, others are legal only under certain conditions, and there are those that are flat-out illegal. A few common tools are:
• Video cameras and moving surveillance
• Monitoring e-mail messages, chat room discussions, and internet
• Tracking a spouses vehicle
• Performing asset searches
• Using electronic eavesdropping detection
My personal commitment when acting as an Investigator or as a Life Coach is “first, do no harm.” If a client requests a service that I believe will bring harm to them, I counsel them about the danger of that option and work to re-direct them to something more suitable. 99% of the time this is effective. (You would be astounded by what some seemingly “normal” people request.) Because we are often dealing with the dark side of humanity, the work of a PI often takes us to some interesting and unusual places.
I invite you to join me Monday 3/17 at 8pm CT (9pm ET, 7pm MT) to hear how these dynamics played out in some real life set of circumstances in the online webinar, “A Private Eye’s Unique Perspective On Relationships.” Learn the issues clients were dealing with, the actions they chose, the outcomes that were produced, and the difference each made in each life. If you or someone you know is dealing with infidelity and contemplating the need for a PI (or for a Life Coach), you won’t want to miss this discussion. There will be plenty of time for Q & A so bring your questions!
By Bruce Graham