Many years ago, a likeable but otherwise unremarkable man showed at my corporate office.
“I’d like you to follow my wife,” he said. “I think she’s cheating on me.”
Not an unusual request. We have handled thousand of cases just like this over the past thirty-five years.
Two of my staff investigators followed the wife one afternoon from her home as she departed alone in her vehicle. They were very surprised when she arrived at the local school that her twin girls attended. It was 11:30 a.m., so one would assume that she was there to pick up a child who was sick, to help in the classroom or to attend a parent/teacher meeting.
The spouse positioned her vehicle in an odd place near the back of the administration building. A man was observed to emerge from a back door of the building, looked around furtively and then got into the passenger side of her vehicle. Video of the male subject was taken. Our staff investigators followed her suburban minivan as they headed to a local 24-hour gym and parked in a faraway corner of the underground garage.
Soon enough, that van was rocking and rolling.
Soon enough, that van was rocking and rolling. Fifteen minutes later the male subject was dropped off back at the school.
The client was called and advised of this activity. I personally requested that he come to my office to review the video.
The surveillance investigators and the client arrived simultaneously at our office. Upon playing of the videotape the client blurted out, “That’s Darryl, the teacher of my third-grade girls!”
“Just to be clear,” I stated, “this man who apparently had sex with your wife in the back of your van is the twins’ teacher?”
There are just some things in life you can’t make up.“Yeah, can you believe that?”
There are just some things in life you can’t make up.
As I have written in the past and lectured many times, something like this is not the end of the client’s case, but the beginning of a new process.
Step number one is to recommend to him a good family attorney. That was done based on many factors including the length of the marriage, children and assets.
The case went to court, and they client indeed sued the wife for alienation of love and affection.
Candidly, I was quite shocked when he initially won this legal battle.
As his private investigator of record, I testified in the divorce hearing, which received a lot of play in the media. We granted numerous radio and television interviews regarding the case. Unfortunately, the wife appealed the decision, the appellate court ruled in her favor, and it all faded away as one of those strange but true legal cases.
I hadn’t thought of this incident in years, until I read a chapter in a new book called Adultery: Infidelity and the Law by Deborah L. Rhode, a law professor at Stanford University. The book reminds us that in 2016, twenty-one states still have criminal prohibitions on adultery. Her somewhat scholarly discussion of the implications of these various laws and their haphazard enforcement should be required reading for all family law attorneys.
Every now and then, people even lose their own sanity over adulterous affairs.
I am not ashamed to say, that after three-plus decades of dealing with divorce-related matters, the fact that adultery is still actually technically illegal in many places came as a big surprise to me.
Over the years I have seen men and women throw away many things for a lover. People lose money, cars, valuables, children, homes, jobs, reputations, and every now and then, people even lose their own sanity over adulterous affairs. As 80% of our marital surveillance clients are women, it is generally men we observe who are willing to risk all this and more for the sake of cheating.
I doubt very seriously that fear of breaking the law or getting arrested or sued is high on their list of possible consequences. Apparently, it should be.
Senior care and unannounced visits.