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The use of Investigators during Family Disputes by Michael Featherstone

Separating from a spouse or partner can be a traumatic event and very emotional time.

Legal Practitioners working in this area of law often work in a high pressure environment, having to take immediate steps relating to care of children, home occupancy and assets, whilst taking instructions from clients who are often in a fair bit of emotional pain.

Quite often the pain is extended with the other side continuing to supply untruths relating to their situation.

Combining legal skills with our investigative strength often provides practitioners and their clients with a significant advantage over adversaries.

Generally, investigation will often ensure that you have a wealth of evidence to support your clients application.

Discovering information or evidence through investigation will often induce the other party to settle on your client’s terms, not their terms.

How often do Practitioners suspect that statements made by the other side are untruthful, but do not have the ability to disprove them. In some cases, their own clients can assist with this process, as well as general discovery. A key feature of Investigation however, is that it allows you as Practitioners to test the veracity of the other side’s contentions throughout the proceedings, undermining the other sides confidence and credibility at every opportunity.

Over the last 17 years we have assisted many practitioners with;

  • The enforcement & execution of orders, service of documents with supporting Affidavits, removal of or collection and or protection of property and your client’s security and safety;
  • Preparation of evidence of criminal offences, including stalking, violent and threatening conduct and engaging law enforcement;
  • Confirmation of the occurrence of separation, reconciliation or other significant events;
  • Identifying, locating and/or verifying property interests;
  • Substantiating negative contributions, including wasted expenditure; (i.e. Mistresses & gambling)
  • Identifying and verifying undisclosed income levels or potential for earning capacity;
  • Exposing fraud, shams, misrepresentations or non-disclosure, relevant to the outcome of proceedings; (e.g. non-payment of child support)
  • Discovering extramarital relationships and linking negative consequences;
  • Substantiating inappropriate behaviour by a parent or other caregivers;
  • Investigating child at risk issues;
  • Supervising contact or handovers.
  • Obtaining evidence substantiating a breach of orders or undertakings.
  • Conducting interviews, drafting statements or affidavits;
  • Proving or disproving de facto relationships;
  • Assisting in the execution of orders, including:
    • Anton Pillar Orders;
    • Recovery Orders.

Clients usually have a wealth of information about the other side, and any investigation should commence with an analysis of this information.
It can often be dangerous however to allow clients to carry out investigations on their own behalf, such investigations often exposing them to breaches of various legislation and courts later adopting an adverse opinion of them.

The benefit of using a competent investigator is that it will allow you to present the truth, whilst protecting your clients,

Michael Featherstone www.phoenixglobal.com.au

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