Carrying out a cohabitation Surveillance
Maybe the best way forward to confirm cohabitation, however not always as straight forward as you may expect.
Trying to prove cohabitation sounds easy doesn’t it?
They Sleep together they are cohabiting right? Wrong.
Lets just say Mr X is paying Mrs X £125,000 per year for maintenance and perhaps Mrs X is now pregnant with another mans child with whom Mr X alleges Mrs X is now cohabiting with. Mrs X says that the Pregnancy was an accident and that she is not cohabiting with the other man. The case of Grey v Grey as reported in the telegraph highlights the problem of proving if the parties are cohabiting.
It is extremely difficult to prove what is going on behind closed doors and there is also the problem that any cohabitation is likely to stop if the cohabiting parties get wind of the fact that their ex knows about it and is trying to prove the point.
Co-habitation can often have an impact on any financial disclosures in divorce cases. The addition of a second income to a separated party can have an impact on maintenance payments, especially if you can prove that one or other party in a separation is, perhaps, not telling the truth.
There are no hard and fast rules in proving cohabitation, although a general rule of thumb is to provide evidence over a period of time that two people are living together.
We would suggest you check the electoral register to see if both parties are shown on the electoral roll initially. 192.com is cheap and easy to use. Check the given home address of the other person who has moved in with your partner, (Who is now cohabiting) are they sub letting their own property if so make some discreet enquiries I would suggest after the surveillance period however just in case they are alerted. They may have recently sold their house, if so this can be used. After all where are they then claiming they live?
We suggest a 3 week surveillance period broken up over the 3 weeks to cover all days of the week.
Just a suggestion but we usually suggest the following:
Monday night/Tuesday morning
Wednesday night/Thursday morning
Tuesday night/Wednesday morning
Thursday night/Friday morning
Saturday night/Sunday morning
Friday night/Saturday morning
Sunday night/Monday morning
As shown above this splits surveillance periods up and there is less chance of a compromise, however you are covering every night and every morning Monday – Sunday inclusive over a 3 week week period. You are not covering just 3 nights of one week that allows the other party to have an easy get out.
We suggest special attention is paid to every detail such as observing both parties arrive at the subject address. Who arrives first. This way you can confirm their arrival from possibly work depending on the time they start and finish. How they enter the address, is it with their own key, what they are wearing when they arrive, do they leave wearing something different the following morning. Pay attention to lights on and off in the address get a plan of the house so you know where the main bed-room is located. Who walks the family Dog if they have one. If they go out during the evening are there any signs of affection as of course if you are a lodger you are not intimate with your landlady or landlord. Once the lights are out mark the vehicles wheels so you can confirm that the vehicles have not moved over night in your absence.
The following morning be there early, check the marks on the wheels, Are the vehicles covered in morning dew/frost or snow. Check there are no lights on and if so be sure to mention which lights. Don’t forget rear lights if they can be seen. Obviously make sure that there is no rear access or exit at the rear prior to starting any surveillance period, if so you may need 2 operatives to be sure that nothing is missed at the rear. Observe each party leaving to see who leaves first and confirm both parties remained overnight. Check for a change of clothing, who double locks the door. Make sure you keep good notes as you may have to give evidence of your findings in Court.
We would always suggest that the initial surveillance period is backed up by a few periodic checks here and there and then a further 3 week period done just prior to any Court hearings especially if there are large sums of money at stake.
Co-habitation surveillance has to be carried out very discreetly and therefore needs to be carried out by someone with experience. Its no good talking to someone at the end of the phone who has all the experience and then they sub the work to an Agent with 6 months experience as it is not likely to go well. Ask who will carry out your surveillance task what experience have they got can they back that experience up by signing a statement at the end of the surveillance period that can be used and can show to the Court that they have been a Private Investigator for a good number of years and have experience in carrying out cohabitation Surveillance tasks. We have 32 years and are used to giving evidence in Court. We will not let you down and we are not planing on leaving the country just prior to your hearing.
We would always suggest you take legal advise from a qualified Solicitor prior to engaging the services of any investigator.