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Private Investigator Jim Mesis Discusses Social Media & Divorce

Jimmie MesisTo explain more about the uses and abuses of social media in divorce proceedings, we spoke with well-known Private Investigator Jimmie Mesis, Publisher of PI Magazine. Here’s what he offered about the practices used by professional investigators uncovering facts in social media research.

How does social media play into the divorce discovery process?

Jimmie: We have found that people in general are becoming their own detectives and they’re doing their own social media searching, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, anything that they can get their hands on, anything that would have their spouse’s name on it.  So, as far as if you’re going through a divorce, what should you... Read More »

During a divorce, is Facebook something the average person can research effectively?

Jimmie: The average layperson is very astute, and if they already have a Facebook account and they’re putting status updates on their Facebook they also know how to search Facebook, and they also know how to check timelines, and they also know how to check photographs of people’s friends and who’s connected to who,... Read More »

Are you doing this kind of social media discovery often in divorce cases?

Jimmie: We certainly do social media searches.  We have certain software that we have access to and investigative abilities to search certain things, what we call the deep web, and we know how to get into certain social media websites to where the average person might not be as astute in how to do it,... Read More »

In divorce discovery is one social media platform more resourceful than another?

Jimmie: Well, in the deep web, the hidden web, you know Facebook is by far the most successful social media outlet out there.  That one together with Pinterest and Instagram, but Facebook has been taken over by adults.  At one time it was younger people and then adults basically took it over.  Young people are... Read More »

What information can a private investigator find that the average person cannot typically access about their spouse?

Jimmie: Well, licensed professional investigators have access to proprietary databases that are not available to the general public.  So, technically, if I’m doing a background search on a particular spouse and I have their full name, and if it’s a spouse I’m gonna have their full name, date of birth, social, given to me by... Read More »

How long can a private investigation take during a divorce discovery process?

Jimmie: You know, the quality of an investigation is based on two factors: time and money, and they both go hand in hand.  The more time I’m allowed to do a search, the more expensive it’s gonna be, the more information I’m gonna get.  If I have a limited client budget, that means that my... Read More »

If a divorce proceeding goes in front of a judge, is the social media evidence critical?

Jimmie: Yes, a lot of cases do go in front of a judge, but if there is some damaging evidence that was acquired during a Facebook search, that’s something that one of the spouses may not want to have disclosed or become public, especially in front of a hearing officer, a mediator, or a judge. ... Read More »

Is any one piece of social media evidence more damaging and considered more valuable?

Jimmie: Facebook.  Yes, dates, locations, who they were with, the timeline.  It’s just very detailed. The people that use Facebook are leaving a breadcrumb trail of everything they’ve done, you know?  What restaurant they went to, who they were with, what day of the week they did something, where they were.  You know, there’s so... Read More »

How successful is deleting information from your Facebook account right before a divorce?

You could delete anything you want, but a good attorney can always subpoena records from Facebook directly. A spouse that has suspicions, before they even make those suspicions known to the guilty spouse, has already been going onto Facebook doing screen shots and capturing evidence of what they’ve seen on the Facebook page. So,... Read More »

Is investigating social media an important part of divorce proceedings?

Jimmie: It’s probably just as important as anything else we might do on a case.  It’s one element of many elements that we have to do.  Surveillance is usually the big one.  We want to watch a spouse, but we go into sort of social media to find out what they’re into, where they go,... Read More »

With your wealth of investigation experience, what advice would you give to either party?

Jimmie:  You know, as a private investigator for over 35 years, my only recommendation to people is if you’re going to cheat, number one you’re going to get caught, and if you’re going to cheat you don’t put what you’re doing on Facebook or in social media because somebody’s going to see it, somebody’s... Read More »