A strange thing happened to me the other day, when I went for my annual checkup with my cardiologist.  He came into the room and began asking me the very same questions he has asked me every year for the past ten years.  Have you recently experienced any shortness of breath?  Have you noticed any swelling in your legs or ankles?  Have you experienced any periods of dizziness, etc.?  Then, he asked if anything had occurred over the past year, health wise, that I thought he should be aware of?  Like many, I couldn’t think of a thing, at the time.  Later, I began to think of things and wondered if he would have wanted to know about them?  Would these few, seemingly insignificant things, have had an effect on his decisions regarding my health care?

Later that same day, I met with a client.  I was amazed when I found myself asking the same series of questions that I ask to every client.  What has happened that makes you suspicious of your spouse’s activities?  Is there missing time in your spouse’s day, times they were out-of-pocket that they cannot or will not explain?  Have they started hiding or locking their cell phone?  Have they started minimizing the computer screen when you walk in the room or erasing the internet history when they log off?  After those, I recall asking the client to tell me what it is that they believe indicates a problem?  Wow, I sounded just like my doctor, asking my client to tell me anything, everything they could think of that would influence my decision or plan for a solution to their situation.

My point is this, investigator’s are like any other professional, they do not know what it is they do not know!  Like medical problems, every situation of domestic discord has symptoms that are common or similar in all cases but, it’s the subtle differences that affect the diagnosis and plan for action that will limit the suffering in this present situation.

When I meet with a client, I expect that they will prepare in advance, make a list of the things that have crossed their minds and/or aroused their suspicions.  They know their spouse and I do not.  Sometimes I tell them they don’t need my services, they don’t yet have enough information for me to form an opinion.  Other times, the client arrives with a list of events that would cause their pastor to be suspicious!  Those are the clients that an investigator can help.

If you feel you may have a problem, start a journal.  Make a note every time something occurs that makes you suspicious.  Over time, even the best memories fade.  You may remember the situation but, forget the day it happened.  Was it a week day, a Friday night?  What time of the day did the event occur?  Who else may have knowledge of the event?  These questions may mean nothing to you but, can make a difference to the investigator you will task with finding the answers.  Every journal entry should have a date and time note beside the event.  Armed with this information, an investigator can formulate a plan of action, target the best time to conduct surveillance, get the answers and in most cases minimize the cost.  After all, finding the answer is the reason you contacted an investigator in the first place, isn’t it?

 By: Mike Byrd, PI

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