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How To Use Private Investigation To Collect From A Deadbeat
By: Christina Rowe

Are you relying on a state agency to help collect past due child support? Sometimes state agencies drag their feet, and other times they simply can’t get the money. An ex-spouse may find ways to work under the table, or may disappear completely. If you are owed back support, and your state’s child support enforcement agency is not pursuing your ex, and you cannot find out where he works or he is working off the books, then you need to take action.

A little detective work is in order. If you still know people who keep up with your ex, see if you can get one to tell you who he works for. Where is the job? Can you get pictures of him working? Private investigators cost money, but if you were to hire one, these would be the first questions: Where does he work? When does he work there? How much does he make? Hire the investigator for as limited a job as possible. Once the investigator finds out where the job is, you or a friend may be able to do the rest.

There are online “detective agencies” that claim they can give access to bank accounts, whereabouts, and other information. I have tried a few. The results weren’t great. Remember: You can do a lot of investigating on your own and save yourself money. Keep your ears open. Mutual friends and family members are great sources of information. People love to talk. Once they are talking freely they often slip up. As with any other part of this process, this is not something where you want to use your children. However, don’t close your ears to what children say. If you find out key information simply make sure you can explain how you got it in some other way. Often if you simply confirm what you know through others, this can serve as your source. You don’t want to involve your children in any more conflict than you have to, and you don’t want your ex blaming them for something they may not have intended to do.
Deadbeat parents learn many tricks. One is to hide assets by putting them in the name of a girlfriend, new spouse, or parent. That way there is no bank account. Wages (particularly off-the-books payments) go straight into this other person’s bank account. Property is in another name. Your ex may even move to another state. The traveling deadbeat is the hardest one to catch.

In any of these situations you will need hard evidence in the courtroom. Hiring a private investigator may become a necessity. There comes a point where unless you come upon a lucky lead, you will need the skills of a professional. As long as you pick the right detective, and know what you want, your money will be well spent. There are also private agencies that are devoted to support enforcement. These agencies work on a contingency fee, meaning they do not charge you unless they are successful at collecting your support. They do take a percentage of the support collected. Do your homework and be careful when selecting a service like this. Find people who have used them. Call or email these people, and ask them questions about their experience. These groups can be useful, but, as with any support agency, the more you understand about your needs and their services, the better they will do. If you go online and look up “Child Support Enforcement” on or, you will find several agencies to choose from.

About the author: Christina Rowe is the author of the best selling divorce book "Seven Secrets To A Successful Divorce-What Every Woman Needs To Know". Find out the survival skills that will save you time, money and heartache during your divorce. For a free chapter of the book go to:

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