If you’re starting divorce proceedings and need to gather additional evidence, a private investigator (PI) can help. From extramarital affairs to hidden assets, PIs can source reliable and legal evidence to support your case. But, with so much mystery surrounding the profession, how can you be sure everything will be above board?

In this post, we’ll take a look at the UK regulations for PIs, what information is available to them and how they can assist you in the courtroom.

What can divorce PIs legally do?

In the real world, PIs work differently from their fictional counterparts. They must operate under a range of laws and regulations that ensure your safety and human rights are protected.

On top of this, they are forbidden from impersonating a police officer or committing crimes to gain information. This includes trespassing, creating false identities or coercion. There are plenty of other restrictions surrounding what a PI can legally do, so it’s important to find one that is transparent with how they operate.

Trusting a professional PI

With that in mind, you’ll want to be able to recognise a reliable PI when you find one.

Being a member of the ICO will prove they operate confidentially while respecting the privacy of other individuals. ICO membership will only be acquired once a PI has passed vigorous tests that prove they know the law and relevant regulations inside and out.

While not a requirement, a law background can be an added benefit. It will provide your PI with inside knowledge of relevant regulations and can guide them in collecting the most relevant data for the job.

By operating in such a way, a PI will be able to provide evidence and information that will stand up in court.

Accessible information

Since PIs don’t have the same access to confidential documents as other members of law enforcement, what methods can they use?

They won’t be able to access financial information such as bank statements, or any medical information. However, there are many other of methods that a PI can use to build a strong case in your divorce proceedings:

Public records

PIs are not legally allowed to open mail or conduct a credit report without the consent of the individual. However, they do have the skill set required to research and perform background checks.

They can access all public records, which includes both criminal records and court documents. This can be key in building your case in divorce proceedings as it can prove any misinformation the other party has provided.

Additionally, they can be of use if you’re in need of confirmation of a divorce or marriage certificate. PIs can help you locate this information from the public marriage and divorce documents.


As previously mentioned, PIs are not legally able to access phones, which also extends to computers and tablets. They can only access these if they are granted explicit permission from the owner. This may mean that you won’t be able to show proof of deleted messages.


If you’re concerned with anything to do with finances, or that your spouse has hidden assets that you’re not aware of, PIs can help. A professional PI can access public documents that will provide clarity for you, and evidence for the court.


When it comes to these cases, surveillance is the most common method of investigation. This can include tracking vehicles with a GPS device or following people on foot. It can be a particularly effective method in cases surrounding extramarital affairs.

It is important to note that PIs can’t trespass on private property and they must adhere to laws on stalking.


A PI can conduct interviews with relevant parties. This can help you create a detailed argument that invalidates misinformation provided by the other party. They can’t force any party to provide on-the-record information, but it can be an effective method if individuals provide their consent.

How can a PI help your divorce proceedings?

Emotions run high during divorce proceedings, meaning that they can be very stressful and upsetting. You need to do everything in your power to ensure you’re getting a fair and just outcome. To do this, you’ll need all the relevant information that’s available. From extramarital affairs all the way to financial affairs, PIs can make sure you have everything you need.

There are a number of methods that can be used to help your divorce proceedings, and these can vary from company to company. However, most organisations will take advantage of a multitude of techniques to get the information required.

Marriage surveillance

If you’re suspicious that your partner is having an affair, surveillance can be an incredibly handy tool to find out the truth. In this scenario, your PI will be able to get a good idea of where your spouse is going and who they are seeing. While they must adhere to the relevant regulations and not break any stalking laws, it’s completely legal for a PI to report on an individual’s activity.


If you need to locate specific assets that can be found in public records, PIs can help as they have the knowledge and skills relevant to these searches. The process will be a lot quicker than attempting to locate the records yourself. PIs will also be able to ensure that the documents include the most relevant evidence to back up your claim in the proceedings.

Spousal maintenance

Put simply, this refers to the money you pay to your partner after splitting up. The amount will be agreed upon based on their current needs. Unfortunately, those needs aren’t always accurate. Some people use spousal maintenance to fund fancy holidays, flash cars and extravagant purchases. Similarly, some continue to take payments despite having a new partner and a big change in circumstances.

Do they really still need the same amount of money? A PI can undertake lifestyle surveillance, to track people who are leading an unnecessarily lavish lifestyle on your behalf.

Custody disputes

Children are one of the most important and sensitive factors in a divorce. However, some parents aren’t so responsible. Your ex-partner may insist on having certain days or weeks with their child. That’s fair enough, if they’re spending time with them. In some cases, what they’re doing is palming their children off with a new partner, their parents or a carer and taking precious child-time away from you.

How do you prove it? A professional PI can discover (and prove) whether parents are using the time with their children appropriately.


Divorce proceedings can involve a lot of hearsay. A PI will attempt to speak to individuals who have any relevant information to provide you with a detailed response to false statements.

Expert PIs you can trust

Providing a collection of experts in private investigation services for both individuals and corporate clients, Hunter Surveillance Services is an indisputable choice in the Chorley and Preston area.

If you’re in need of a professional, discreet investigator, our highly skilled team are ready to help you. With a range of services including background checks and more, we will help you discover the truth that you deserve.

To find out more about Hunter Surveillance Services, you can get in touch on [email protected] or call us directly on 07555 712919. Our friendly team will discuss your needs and the best course of action in your search for the truth.

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