I think BellaLee asks some relevant questions.
This site has a sadly high number of betrayed husbands that came here determined to divorce because of their wife’s affair and are still here years later in the same marriage, same wife and maybe the only real change is the affair might be over. Usually hidden behind some excuse of staying for the kids, not affording a divorce or not wanting to lose all their assets. It’s what I call inactive infidelity, sort of like the alcoholic that remains dry on willpower alone, but still keeps a bottle in the house (just in case).
This site also has had numerous posters that come here determined their wives are cheating. I was one of those. I had some behavioral evidence and circumstantial evidence. If I had taken the advice offered here (and on another site) at face-value I would be divorced, for the wrong reason.
That feeling of trust you mention: Each and every BS here on this site has experienced that going out the window. Sad thing is that in our NEXT relationship (be it with the same spouse or a new person) chances are we never experience the blind trust we lost. It’s best replaced with trust but verify, even when couples reconcile.
What made you place a VAR in her vehicle? Why do you have a recording?
What if you discover there is no affair? [I caught my wife secretly communicating with a guy, 2 outgoing calls, a message to him to call her and then one incoming call. Turned out she was hiring a personal trainer for me as a birthday present. Caught her on VAR talking to him, nearly shat my pants in fear of what might be on that recording before I pressed play…]
Would it make any difference if you caught her “early”? As in kissing and making out but no “sex”?
The advice offered varies depending on the goal you seek.
If you are determined to divorce the advice should be based on getting you the best resolution for divorce as possible. In certain situations that might lead to some conflict in what is “right” and in what is “best”. For example: If we were dealing with a workplace affair and exposure could lead to job-loss then we might agree that the “right” think is to expose, but the “best” thing for divorce is that the WS still has an income.
If you are decided on divorce, then these are my suggestions:
If your PI friend isn’t clear on the level and quality of evidence needed for court and infidelity-based divorce, then EITHER:
1) Your state is one of the several that still mentions infidelity as a factor in the division of assets, but in reality it has no impact whatsoever. This is actually quite common.
2) He is a crap PI so I would find a new one. If infidelity really impacted divorce then I would venture that this type of case would be at least half his workload. Infidelity is a lot more rampant than industrial espionage or runaway kids.
Don’t shotgun-search for an attorney. You don’t phone 10 random attorneys searching for one that might represent you. Do some research. Probably know someone that has divorced lately: ask them how they rate their attorney. Be selective.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the conflict of interest. I think we tend to overestimate what is needed to eliminate a firm from representing us.
Once you have the attorney then get info on the impact of infidelity and the level of evidence needed.
If you are still unclear on R or D then I would suggest slightly different things. Main thing though is to know how and why infidelity could impact D.