Do You Need a Private Investigator for Your Divorce? They Ain't All Sam Spade

Do You Need a Private Investigator for Your Divorce? They Ain't All Sam Spade

Television, tabloids and true crime novels tell tales about the nitty-gritty hard-boiled characters who ferret out secrets: the private investigator. The 1920’s and 30’s were the golden age of tough, fictional P.I.’s; Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade: fedora sporting, trench coat wearing ‘dicks’ who were easily swayed to slap shoe leather for a dame in distress.

Times have changed. The information superhighway is much easier on the soles and with the advent of digital cameras and truly tiny spy devices, just about anybody can get a license. This new golden age is all about the spendable kind.

A Private Investigator Can Save Your Divorce Bacon 

If you can afford one, hiring a private investigator during a messy divorce might be a smart way to go. Is a spouse suspected of nefarious activities? An affair? Neglect or abuse? Hiding assets? If true, any of these accusations can and will have a profound impact upon the outcome of your divorce proceedings, assuming, of course, you are the injured party. Suspicions of such behavior alone are worthless.

Unless the extramarital congress was caught on the JumboTron during the Super Bowl you will need more grounds for belief. In a judicial trial the participants are bound by something called “burden of proof”. What this means is to have – to provide to the court – evidence that supports the facts of what you suspect. Evidence that a judge can look at or listen to and decide whether or not he believes that yes, infidelity is or was taking place or there is a secret offshore account in the Caymans to which you are entitled a portion. In other words, can you actually prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that what you say is the truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God? That proverbial picture worth a 1000 words just may be worth a lot more than that. 

What You Get From a PI

So what exactly does a private investigator do? Basically, they gather facts. Many specialize in specific areas like intellectual property, employee background checks, workman’s comp and insurance cases, business practice investigation and skip chasing – finding people who owe other people money, property or services.

Those who handle domestic work primarily tend to limit their investigation to public record searches and conducting surveillance. The former is tedious and time consuming, the later, following people without them noticing, while obtaining surreptitious photographs is not as easy as you might think and once again, runs up a good many billable hours.

Hours that average around $50 US per and can run up over a $100.00. Some will quote you a flat fee for a single service if say you wanted to find out the background of the guy your wife is seeing. Bear in mind that some good public record databases, archives and publications have a hefty subscriber search fee. An investigatory agency will recoup the cost of these annual charges as a business expense through the course of a year’s worth of clients. All of the financial details can be explained and arranged during a sit down with the investigator when you meet to outline your needs. It is important to be as honest and forthright as possible. The more information they have, the better they can produce results for you. Respectively, you can ask to be provided with a detailed accounting of the charges invoiced to you.

Manage Your Expectations 

Before you rush off to Google ‘private investigators in my area’  there are a few things you need to be aware of. First of all, forget everything you’ve learned about the private detectives portrayed on crime shows and in movies. Licensed, professional P.I.’s are bound by law. They cannot, for instance, sneak into your wife’s house and copy financial records  or snap in flagranti pics in the middle of the night. They cannot, in a majority of states, tap phones or obtain information by what is called ‘pretexting’ – which has nothing to do with sending a message on a cell phone. Obtaining information using a ruse, for example, putting on a uniform, carrying a toolbox and gaining entrance to a private residence or business is considered doing so under pretext and will land both you and your investigator in legal hot water. By hiring him or her you become just as legally culpable.

If you have or are retaining an attorney, chances are they already work with one or several investigators. If not, the smartest thing to do is seek out a licensed, experienced and reputable professional.

Know someone with a sneaky spouse?

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(c) Can Stock Photo / squidmediaro

Divorce Trends in the US: Divorce Rate per State

Divorce Trends in the US: Divorce Rate per State

There is a lot of discussion lately about what the actual divorce rate per state is in the United States and what the country’s divorce rate is overall. For years, it’s been “common knowledge” that 50% of marriages end in divorce. Others suggest that statistic is overblown. What is clear is that divorce trends in the US vary by state and other factors, including age, education, and income.

How do those factors affect the divorce rate per state? Those who marry after age eighteen have a 24% reduced risk of divorce. Only 27% of college graduates will divorce by middle age. Having a collective annual household income of $50,000 or more is associated with a 30% lower divorce risk. Curious about how your state stacks up? Read on.

Divorce Rate by State: The List

Alabama

Divorce rate: 12.5%

Median age at first marriage: Men 27 / Women 25

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 22.0%

Median household income: $42.278

Alaska

Divorce rate: 11.8%

Median age at first marriage: Men 28 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 26.6%

Median household income: $67,629

Arizona

Divorce rate: 12.3%

Median age at first marriage: Men 28 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 25.6%

Median household income: $49,254

Arkansas

Divorce rate: 12.9%

Median age at first marriage: Men 26 / Women 24

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 18.9%

Median household income: $44,922

California

Divorce rate: 9.6%

Median age at first marriage: Men 29 / Women 27

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 29.9%

Median household income: $60,487

Colorado

Divorce rate: 12.2%

Median age at first marriage: Men 27 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 35.9%

Median household income: $60,940

Connecticut

Divorce rate: 11.1%

Median age at first marriage: Men 29 / Women 28

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 35.6%

Median household income: $70,161

Delaware

Divorce rate: 12.2%

Median age at first marriage: Men 29 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 28.7%

Median household income: $57,522

District of Columbia

Divorce rate: 9.0%

Median age at first marriage: Men 32 / Women 30

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 48.5%

Median household income: 68,277

Florida

Divorce rate: 13.0%

Median age at first marriage: Men 29 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 25.3%

Median household income: $46,140

Georgia

Divorce rate: 11.3%

Median age at first marriage: Men 28 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 27.5%

Median household income: $49,555

Hawaii

Divorce rate: 9.6%

Median age at first marriage: Men 29 / Women 27

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 29.6%

Median household income: $71,223

Idaho

Divorce rate: 11.8%

Median age at first marriage: Men 25 / Women 24

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 23.9%

Median household income: $53,438

Illinois

Divorce rate: 10.0%

Median age at first marriage: Men 29 / Women 27

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 30.6%

Median household income: 54,916

Indiana

Divorce rate: 12.9%

Median age at first marriage: Men 27 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 22.5%

Median household income: $48,060

Iowa

Divorce rate: 10.6%

Median age at first marriage: Men 27 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 25.1%

Median household income: $57,810

Kansas

Divorce rate: 11.6%

Median age at first marriage: Men 26 / Women 25

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 29.5%

Median household income: $53,444

Kentucky

Divorce rate: 13.1%

Median age at first marriage: Men 27 / Women 25

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 21.0%

Median household income: $42,786

Louisiana

Divorce rate: 12.0%

Median age at first marriage: Men 27 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 21.4%

Median household income: $42,406

Maine

Divorce rate: 14.6%

Median age at first marriage: Men 29 / Women 27

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 26.9%

Median household income: $51,710

Maryland

Divorce rate: 10.0%

Median age at first marriage: Men 29 / Women 27

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 37.3%

Median household income: $76,165

Massachusetts

Divorce rate: 9.5%

Median age at first marriage: Men 30 / Women 28

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 38.2%

Median household income: $63,151

Michigan

Divorce rate: 11.8%

Median age at first marriage: Men 29 / Women 27

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 24.6%

Median household income: $52,005

Minnesota

Divorce rate: 10.2%

Median age at first marriage: Men 27 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 31.5%

Median household income: $67,244

Mississippi

Divorce rate: 12.1%

Median age at first marriage: Men 26 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 19.6%

Median household income: $35,521

Missouri

Divorce rate: 12.4%

Median age at first marriage: Men 27 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 25.2%

Median household income: $56,630

Montana

Divorce rate: 12.7%

Median age at first marriage: Men 29 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 27.4%

Median household income: $51,102

Nebraska

Divorce rate: 10.7%

Median age at first marriage: Men 27 / Women 25

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 27.4%

Median household income: $56,870

Nevada

Divorce rate: 14.2%

Median age at first marriage: Men 28 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 21.8%

Median household income: $49,875

New Hampshire

Divorce rate: 12.2%

Median age at first marriage: Men 29 / Women 27

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 32.0%

Median household income: $73,397

New Jersey

Divorce rate: 8.5%

Median age at first marriage: Men 30 / Women 28

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 34.5%

Median household income: $65,243

New Mexico

Divorce rate: 12.3%

Median age at first marriage:

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 25.3%

Median household income: $46,686

New York

Divorce rate: 8.7%

Median age at first marriage: Men 28 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 32.4%

Median household income: $54,310

North Carolina

Divorce rate: 10.9%

Median age at first marriage: Men 27 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 26.5%

Median household income: $46,784

North Dakota

Divorce rate: 9.4%

Median age at first marriage: Men 28 / Women 25

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 25.8%

Median household income: $60,730

Ohio

Divorce rate: 12.3%

Median age at first marriage: Men 27 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 24.1%

Median household income: $49,644

Oklahoma

Divorce rate: 13.3%

Median age at first marriage: Men 26 / Women 24

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 22.7%

Median household income: $47,199

Oregon

Divorce rate: 13.5%

Median age at first marriage: Men 28 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 29.2%

Median household income: $58,875

Pennsylvania

Divorce rate: 9.6%

Median age at first marriage: Men 29 / Women 27

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 26.4%

Median household income: $55,173

Rhode Island

Divorce rate: 11.4%

Median age at first marriage: Men 30 / Women 28

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 30.5%

Median household income: $58,633

South Carolina

Divorce rate: 11.1%

Median age at first marriage: Men 28 / Women 27

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 24.3%

Median household income: $44,929

South Dakota

Divorce rate: 10.4%

Median age at first marriage: Men 26 / Women 25

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 25.1%

Median household income: $53,053

Tennessee

Divorce rate: 12.6%

Median age at first marriage: Men 27 / Women 25

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 23.0%

Median household income: $43,716

Texas

Divorce rate: 10.9%

Median age at first marriage: Men 27 / Women 25

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 25.5%

Median household income: $53,875

Utah

Divorce rate: 9.1%

Median age at first marriage: Men 26 / Women 24

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 28.5%

Median household income: $63,383

Vermont

Divorce rate: 12.3%

Median age at first marriage: Men 28 / Women 27

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 33.1%

Median household income: $60,708

Virginia

Divorce rate: 10.1%

Median age at first marriage: Men 27 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 34.0%

Median household income: $66,155

Washington

Divorce rate: 12.0%

Median age at first marriage: Men 28 / Women 26

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 31.0%

Median household income: $59,068

West Virginia

Divorce rate: 13.3%

Median age at first marriage:

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 17.3%

Median household income: $39,552

Wisconsin

Divorce rate: 11.0%

Median age at first marriage: Men 27 / Women 25

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 25.7%

Median household income: $58,080

Wyoming

Divorce rate: 14.0%

Median age at first marriage: Men 28 / Women 25

Percentage of population holding a bachelor’s degree: 23.8%

Median household income: $55,690

The Takeaway?

If you want to avoid the heartache of a divorce, wait until you’re older to get married, finish that college degree so you can get a better job, and move to New Jersey.

Sources:

How did your state stack up? Let us know in the comments!  divorce rate per state?

Declining Divorce Rates Seven Reasons Fewer Americans Seem to Be Calling It Quits

Declining Divorce Rates Seven Reasons Fewer Americans Seem to Be Calling It Quits

Declining Divorce Rates

Seven Reasons Fewer Americans Seem to Be Calling It Quits

In the last 20 years, divorce rates have dropped dramatically.

According to The New York Times:

Couples Married In Divorce Rate
1970 35%
1980 35%
1990 70%
2000 15%

Don’t be deceived by the table deceiving. Drastically declining divorce rates are logically the result of a rise in successful marriages going the distance.

Declining Divorce Rates: The Seven Factors That Contributed to the Drop

The divorce surge is over. Americans beat the long-held belief that 50% of all marital unions end like a coin toss. Identifying the cause of declining divorce rates requires that look at several different factors independently and as a whole. Each of their societal contributions affected the way Americans view and treat marriage.

1. Americans Are Waiting Until They’re Older to Marry

Individuals who marry in their later 20’s are likely to have a college degree. They’ve had plenty of time to work out their adolescent, game-playing behavior. And most have been through enough failed past romances to give them a more profound appreciation for their mate.

Year of Wedding Man’s Average Age Woman’s Average Age
1890 26 22
1950 23 20
2004 27 26

 

Both genders are waiting the same amount of time. They’re focused, problem-solving, retirement-planning, mature adults. Each can meet his or her financial needs without anyone’s help. When/if they enter into The Odd Contract that is marriage, it’s only after they’ve thought it through from a logical perspective.

Women initiate divorce proceedings 69% of the time. They’re statistically more prone to changing their minds than men. They should consider all of their partner’s qualities while the couple is still dating.

Contrary to what Benjamin Franklin allegedly said, save for tomorrow that which you could do today!

2. Truths About Successful Women

They earn 75 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. Yet, despite their mostly uphill trek, more women are achieving financial independence and success. They’re even getting there faster, younger.

The myth that women who are driven, ambitious, and successful are more likely to end up divorced is not true.

Women worked hard for a long time are more selective when choosing a mate. Selectivity pays off in a big way! Successful women are only 20% likely to divorce.

Financially independent women have stronger marriages. There may be a correlation between successful women and happier unions.

 

3. Single People Are Skipping Marriage Altogether

In 2014, Forbes reported that half of the US population was single. It’s an incredible increase! The 2010 US Census’ data claimed 45% of adults 18+ were single. That’s an increase of 5%!

Fewer folks are making the trip down the aisle. No clear end to the decline is in sight. And there’s no way to know if and when the situation will rebound.

4. Increase In the Number of Single Parent Households

 

Say what you want about ’em, but single parents well-respected as people who do it all. And they still manage to pull off miracles. We all have at least one close friend, raised by a single parent. This kid is usually the smartest friend we have.

Fifty years ago they were looked at as anomalies. Being widowed was the only socially acceptable form of single parent. Time has moved us forward.

Starting families out of wedlock (and without intentions of ever marrying) is normal today. Single parents are less inclined to marry as singles without children.

An Increase In In-Home Instability

Declining divorce rates don’t reflect across the board positivity. Fewer women are “waiting” until after college to get married, start families, and begin their married lives, opting not to go through any of it.

Economically challenged women who opted not to marry when they became pregnant were financially worse off at the end of their non-married relationships creating an unstable situation for the child.

“Experts have shown…that the children of single parents are at greater risk of everything from poverty to school failure to imprisonment. Their large numbers will almost surely help perpetuate inequality, poverty, and immobility.”

– Kay Hymowitz, Divorce Rates Are Falling – But Marriage Is Still on the Rocks, Time Magazine, December 3, 2014

Some single parents deconstruct mentally deconstruct their families. Separating one’s marriage from the family unit can create distance. Since you can theoretically have either one without the other, single parents tend to compartmentalize them individually.

The reasons for it are understandable (i.e., people compartmentalize multiple stressors to avoid constantly thinking about them). But Kay Hymowitz thinks it’s a primary cause of poverty among children.

5. Religion’s Popularity has Declined

Declining divorce rates are tied to the decline in the popularity of religion. As most religions condemn divorce, the opposite should be the case. It’s not.

The most popular faiths in the US operate under a patriarchal hierarchy. Women are taught to serve and obey their husbands without question.

Progressive Millenials have a more liberal view of the world than most other generations. They grew up surrounded by the controversy over legalizing same-sex marriage. Their values and their views were shaped by these events. They’ll slowly pull away from religious activities.

Relationships (romantic or otherwise) are based on:

  • Equally sharing duties and responsibilities
  • Moving as far away as possible from patriarchal households

They feel one of two ways about marriage:

  • Either marriage is too intense or serious a commitment to enter into lightly, or
  • The struggles over legalizing same-sex marriage have left them rejecting the institution of marriage altogether

6. Regular Use of Contraceptives Prevents Shotgun Weddings

Look it up! It’s 100% true!

Shotgun weddings rarely work out. Forcing a child to marry because of a pregnancy borderlines on abuse.

The de-stigmatized use of contraceptives has changed the fates of millions of young men and women. Teen pregnancy rates have dropped 50% and are at the lowest in 20 years!

It’s possible that it occurred in direct correlation with declining divorce rates. Fewer shotgun weddings equal fewer divorces.

People need to be free to choose their mate.

7. College Students and Graduates Are Less Likely to Divorce

More Americans than ever are crossing the stage on graduation day…in college!

  • In 1965, only 5.92% of the population was enrolled in college.
  • That figure climbed to 20.24% by 2015.

What does the number of college enrollees have to with the declining divorce rate? If you’re thinking it’s because educated singles are less likely to marry, you’d be wrong!

According to a Pew Social Trends report, divorce and education are linked. Based on research done in 2008 using 2007’s data:

  • 2.9% of all married individuals lacked a college degree or advanced training.
  • Comparatively, 1.6% of similarly aged college educated people divorced in the previous year.

The results reveal a correlation exists between a person’s educational level and their ability to maintain a stable relationship.

College students and graduates have developed the patience and discipline to work through disagreements.

Final Thoughts

A number of reasons exist for why divorce rates declined over the past few years.

Many of them relate back to changes in gender-related, societal expectations of people over recent decades.

Declining divorce rates can be attributed to a number of things. People are getting married later than before, shot-gun weddings are all but a distant memory as more and more young women gain access to birth control, and smarter, the population of smarter, more educated spouses is on the rise, bringing with it husbands and wives who are more patient than before and more willing to cooperate to resolve their conflicts.

The decline doesn’t show signs of stopping. OECD, the Organisation for Economic C0-Operation and Development forecasted continued yearly increases through the year 2030!

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