Want to know one of the first questions we usually hear from someone calling into our offices?
Can I Use Evidence of Infidelity in Court?
There is a short answer to this question and a longer answer. The short answer is, “Yes, a private investigator’s evidence is legally admissible in court; His reports, photos, video and work-product can all be introduced in court as evidence to help prove your case. A private investigator can also offer testimony in the courtroom.
Now, the thing to understand is, in most states, where infidelity is at issue, the courts are not supposed to take such evidence into consideration when determining parenting arrangements or division of assets. And…if the only purpose, or value of proof was what it brought in the courtroom, I would generally advise against it in most situations.
The thing is, though, the greatest value of video proof is usually to be had before one gets to court. Most court cases are settled well before the judge has to make a determination. The biggest benefit of video proof is often the leverage it provides. A person who knows that video evidence of their deeds exists will often be much more pliable in negotiations…especially if they are concerned about that evidence being revealed to their parents, their children, their boss and/or the paramour’s (the cheater’s girl/boyfriend) significant other.
Another Way That Evidence is Valuable
Let me give you another example of how video proof can be of great value…Last month, we were working an infidelity case where the husband was having an affair with a co-worker. Now, this affair had been going on, in one form or another for several years. The wife had suspected the affair from the start, but the husband, who was a skilled and manipulative liar had been convincing his wife that she was not only paranoid, but also delusional (This is not uncommon, it even has a name for it; gas lighting).
During this time, he was accusing her of cheating on him, he was telling her and her friends and relatives that she was a compulsive liar, he finally convinced her that she needed psychological help and driven her self-esteem into the cellar.
As you can imagine, the peace of mind that this client experienced as a result of having the concrete proof, or evidence, in her hands in the form of a detailed timeline with photographs and video did more good for her than any amount of money or assets the courts could have provided.
In conclusion, the question of whether evidence of infidelity can be used in court has a straightforward answer: Yes, a private investigator’s findings, including reports, photos, videos, and work-product, are admissible as evidence to support your case. However, it’s essential to understand that courts, in most states, may not consider such evidence when making decisions regarding child custody or asset division. So, while the courtroom value of proof may be limited, the true power of video evidence lies in its ability to provide leverage and facilitate negotiations outside of court.
Video proof often acts as a catalyst for reaching settlements before the case reaches the courtroom. Knowing that concrete evidence exists can significantly influence the behavior of the guilty party, making them more amenable to negotiations. The fear of their actions being exposed to their parents, children, employer, or their affair partner’s significant other can be a strong motivator for cooperation.
Moreover, evidence, such as videos, serves another invaluable purpose: combating gaslighting. Take the example of a client who had been manipulated by her husband’s lies, resulting in doubts about her own sanity and self-esteem. In her case, having a detailed timeline with photographs and videos provided her with the peace of mind that no amount of court-provided assets or financial compensation could offer.
In the end, while the admissibility of evidence in court is important, its true worth lies in the emotional relief, negotiation leverage, and validation it can provide to individuals affected by infidelity.
You might also like:
The goal of this site is simple; to be the most-trusted and best source of information about every aspect of private investigators and private investigations, whether you are looking to do your own private investigation or considering hiring a private investigator.
Paul Baeppler retired as captain from the Cleveland Police Department after over 30 years of service. At the same time, he has also owned and run several private investigation and security businesses licensed in Ohio, California and New York for the past 20 years.