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Family Law

: SC Family Law Blog

Do You Have to Use a Private Investigator to Prove Contempt of Court?

By Ben Stevens

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Question:  I want to file a contempt action to prove that someone is violating a Court Order.  If I have someone take pictures to help prove this violation, does that person have to be a licensed private investigator?

AnswerEvidence of a violation of a court order can come from anyone with first-hand knowledge.  If photos are being used for that purpose, the person taking them can introduce them at a hearing, and that person is not required to be a licensed private investigator. 

However, if the person has any bias at all (such as being a friend or family member), then his/her credibility can be questioned and possibly compromised.  When you use a private investigator, then his objectivity will not be questioned, as he is simply "doing his job." 

Also, since a private investigator is essentially a professional witness, you will typically get better (i.e. more helpful) evidence than a non-professional would get.  For instance, taking photographs in low light situations is difficult, and knowing what type of information the Court wants to see can make a big difference.

If you need more information, you can read the following articles that I've written about using private investigators in Family Court:

Full post as published by SC Family Law Blog on July 24, 2008 (boomark / email).

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