Trash Talks in Family and Domestic Law CasesGarbology is a term we coined some time ago. The technique can be a very effective tool in the private investigator’s box and used for a variety of purposes:

Marital Infidelity. Often we are contacted by an attorney with a client who suspects their spouse is having extramarital affairs. Cheating spouse surveillance often uncovers meet-ups. From those we find and look up a license plate number to identify the third party.

Child Custody. When proof is needed to support claims that one parent should not have custody, garbology can provide a great deal of information. In fact, should the trash reveal evidence of drugs – such as meth lab materials, paraphernalia; like needles, pipes, packages or actual drugs- the results are turned over to narcotics authorities. Not only does the attorney have the support needed for his case, it may be considered probable cause to get a court order for a search warrant. A search could result in criminal charges.

Divorce Court Orders – Maintenance or Support Payments. When a spouse who is paying maintenance suspects the former spouse of not abiding by the conditions of the ruling by having another person living with them, the garbology technique can reveal someone else has taken up residency and is receiving mail or is spending overnights.

Missing Persons. A missing person investigation may lead to a location and a search of the trash may provide clues and information about the identity of household residents.

If the results of a garbage or trash search indicate any criminal activity involving drugs, prostitution, weapons, pedophile activity or stolen property or evidence of embezzlement, a private investigator is required to turn it over to the authorities and the attorney is notified. If the results support a position in a civil case, they are turned over only to the attorney.

Used with other investigation into criminal and civil court research and data base research for arrests, suspended licenses and the like, what is considered garbage could actually be a critical element to the case.

-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations