Divorce & Family Law Investigations

Divorce is a very significant life event that can cause tremendous stress, not only to the spouses involved but also to the family and children. Even the most amicable divorces come with a certain degree of stress. When the divorce becomes contentious and the spouses become embroiled in financial and child custody battles, the emotional toll increases exponentially. Evidence of infidelity, hidden assets, and other incriminating data is often stored in electronic devices such as computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Computer forensics examinations of these devices are key to finding relevant evidence that can be used to support one’s case in family court.

When families break apart, sometimes the issues at stake in the split can easily spin out of control. Allegations of child abuse, sexual abuse, and other claims of spousal misbehavior can quickly come to the forefront. Regardless of what side of the case you are on, the facts matter. In many of these cases, digital data is key in bringing the truth to light. In some cases, investigations could reveal hidden bank accounts, undisclosed relationships, or even plans to abduct a child and relocate to a foreign country. Our investigators are prepared with the right tools and skills to react quickly to the needs of our clients and to any information that we discover.

Investigations in divorce or family law cases include a vast array of issues that must be resolved. The most important issues are typically financial responsibility and child custody. In many family law cases, a spouse will attempt to hide assets in order to avoid relinquishing those assets in a divorce settlement or in an attempt to pay less in child support. Should you hire a private detective at McCann Investigations, an in-depth computer forensic investigation can often reveal hidden assets.

Digital investigations are by far the most effective method to gather evidence in a contentious family law case. However, there are cases that go beyond what digital investigations can uncover. Our team employs a variety of traditional private investigations tools as well, such as surveillance, undercover work, and background checks on a case-by-case basis, and typically as a supplement to an ongoing computer forensics investigation.

Hidden Assets

In a divorce case, any incriminating evidence relating to hidden assets is most likely located on a mobile device, such as a smartphone, laptop, or tablet. Through forensic imaging of an electronic device, evidence of an undisclosed bank account, credit card, investment, property, or other assets can often be discovered and used as evidence in divorce cases.

Custodial Abduction

Parental abduction happens when a non-custodial parent takes a child with the intent of keeping the child from the other parent. The parent may take the child to another state or even another country in hopes of hiding from the other parent. Parental abduction most often occurs in extremely contentious cases when one parent is deliberately attempting to hurt the other parent. Unfortunately, it is the children who truly suffer the most in these scenarios.

Our McCann investigators employ every investigation tool we have, as well as various domestic and international resources, in our efforts to locate the child and return him or her to safety.

Glossary of Family Law Terms

There are numerous terms that are relevant to digital forensics investigations that people browsing our site might not necessarily be familiar with. Therefore, we have compiled a glossary of important terms that you might encounter as you browse the site. If there are any terms not included in this list or if there are any terms you don’t fully understand, please feel free to contact us at McCann and we will be happy to help.

Read our Glossary of Family Law Terms for explanations of phrases including bid rigging, blackmail, bribery, Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), etc.

Example Family Law Cases

The cases listed below represent a small sample of the hundreds of cases investigated by McCann over the past 28 years. Material facts have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients. Some of the cases discussed combine various issues and materials found in relevant case studies that have been reviewed by McCann Investigators. No attempt should be made to draw any factual conclusions based on the cases discussed. Please contact McCann Investigations for real world cases in which references can be furnished.

Digital Proof of Child Porn Allegations

In this case, McCann Investigators were hired by a family lawyer to help to investigate an allegation of child abuse during a divorce and the ensuing child custody hearing. The claim was made by our client, the female spouse, against the husband. Her claim was that he was a viewer of child pornography. In this case, she had the presence of mind to take her husband’s computer and iPhone with her when she left the house. McCann computer forensics investigators were able to image the devices and recover evidence that showed he was, in fact, viewing what would be considered child pornography. The case was referred to local law enforcement and our client was given sole custody of her children.

Proving Tampering with Digital Recordings

In this case, McCann mobile forensic investigators were hired by a family lawyer to examine if a confession of a child was valid or if the recording had been altered. The recordings were made on an iPhone. McCann mobile forensic investigators were able to show that the recording was not altered and it was allowed into evidence.

Claims of Negligence by the Primary Caretaker, a Mother

In this case, McCann Investigators were hired by the attorney representing the father in a child custody dispute. The client had no digital evidence supporting this claim. His view was that the mother was living with a sex offender and also actively using illegal drugs. McCann Investigators put the mother under surveillance for a week and were able to document that she was sharing a motel room with a registered sex offender. In addition, our surveillance investigators were able to document her buying what appeared to be crack cocaine. The father was awarded sole custody of the children.

Infidelity: High-Risk Behavior by a Father

In this case, our client, the divorce attorney for the wife, wanted to show poor judgment and high-risk behavior of her client’s soon-to-be ex-husband. She had obtained his iPhone prior to the divorce. During the forensic examination of his phone, McCann mobile forensic investigators were able to show evidence that the husband was using his phone to hire prostitutes and that he was engaging in extreme fetish behavior. The mother was awarded primary custody of the children.

Custodial Abduction: Wife Leaves USA with Children in Violation of Court Order

In this case, McCann Investigators, worked to establish the location of our client’s ex-wife, who fled the USA with our client’s infant son. It was unclear of her exact location, other than it was most likely in a former Soviet Bloc country. McCann Investigators obtained evidence in multiple incomplete forms from mobile devices and via discovery requests of her email provider. McCann Investigators also dispatched to the region and began gathering intelligence via traditional and nontraditional methods and in-region sources. McCann Investigators worked closely with the father’s attorney and local LE and DA. The ex-wife was located after a two month search and the child was reunited with the father.

Claim of Domestic Violence: Photos Real or Altered?

In this case, McCann mobile forensic investigators were asked to review a series of digital photos, said to be taken with a Blackberry, that showed facial bruising on our client’s wife. The Blackberry was obtained and a forensic image of the device was made. The conclusion of the forensic investigator was that the photo was indeed taken by the Blackberry; however, the photo had been exported and had been altered only to be imported back into the device. The criminal charges against the husband were dropped.



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