How to find a divorce lawyer in Cape Town, South Africa

Hiring a private investigator

I got a call the other day from a magazine who wanted my opinion on the pros and cons of a client using a private investigator.

In the first place there has to be mentioned that private investigators are often quite expensive.  They would often ask for a R5000 to R10 000 deposit up front, and the total bill would usually depend on how much further work is involved.  This deposit would be a similar amount to that requested by the divorce attorney usually.

Very often in a divorce if the one spouse had an extramarital affair whilst under the same roof as his/her spouse, the courts consider this to be gross misconduct, and certainly do take it into account when determining how the assets should be divided.  The private detective's role is sometimes quite important in proving the affair.

I had a case where I acted for the lady in the divorce.  She had reason to believe that her husband was involved in an extramarital affair, and was determined to prove it, so she hired a private detective.  The detective followed her husband to a rugby club, where my client's husband spent most of his time, and took photographs of her husband kissing another lady, his new girlfriend.

In the abovementioned case when the divorce matter eventually went to trial my client was able to use the photographs taken by the detective in court to prove the affair.  She ended up with the lion's share of the assets after the divorce as a result of her evidence.  We had a well prepared case and good solid evidence.

It often happens in divorces that spouses lie to each other when they are having an affair.  They do not want to hurt their spouse by admitting an affair and sometimes have the opinion that “ what you dont know cant hurt you”.  I would suggest possibly trying to do your own homework at first to prove an affair, to save money, and if that does not work, and you have the necessary funds, the last resort may be to appoint a detective to assist you.

I had another case where I acted for the man and his wife moved out of the matrimonial home without affording my client any reasonable explanation.  She left their two babies with my client.  He appointed a detective, who was able to prove the existence of an affair.  This definitely helped him understand now why his wife had left him.

Private investigators do sometimes play a big role in divorce matters and proving the existence of an affair.  It is reassuring for a client to know that he/she always has this option available.

article written by Cape Town divorce attorney, Peter M Baker

Related articles

Desertion & divorce

Divorce resulting from a child's death

Porn & divorce

Sex and divorce

Working together & divorce

In-laws and divorce

Age & divorce


married overseas annulmentreasons for divorce