'Follow My Spouse' ... Splitting Couples Turn to Private Investigators
Byline: By MOLLY WATSON Western Mail
The number of couples employing private investigators to spy on each other is spiralling, divorce experts said yesterday. Private investigators are now used by around 18% of couples in divorce cases - usually by people who believe their partner has been unfaithful.
But a decision soon to be made in a landmark case, Miller v Miller, could see the number rocket even further.
The case, involving Alan and Melissa Miller, is being heard in the House of Lords, after Mr Miller contested an initial ruling which took into account the fact he had been unfaithful, when deciding on a settlement.
Previously in divorce cases the conduct of partners during a marriage has not been taken into account but if the Lords uphold the ruling then it could be bad news for adulterers, says Will Davies, a specialist in financial divorce settlements at Cardiff's Grant Thornton office.
According to research by Grant Thornton's Forensic and Investigation services practice, adultery is the most common cause of broken marriages. In 2005 about 30% of couples cited it as their main reason for wanting a divorce with other popular causes including emotional or physical abuse and desertion.
And, if the Miller v Miller judgment is upheld, Mr Davies believes a growing number of couples will employ private investigators to provide them with enough ammunition against their partner when it comes to their time in court and winning a financial settlement.
Currently most private investigators are hired by people who want to ensure their spouse is not concealing cash, possibly a judicious move when you consider that around 16% of people admit to hiding away their assets during a divorce, although it's more common among men than women.
While the PI industry has become more sophisticated and hi-tech, Mr Davies said the good old-fashioned tools of standing outside on pavements and video cameras are still widely used. …