Should You Hire a P.I. to Find an Estranged Family Member?

Each year, tens of thousands of people across the country hire private investigators (P.I.) to track down someone they’ve lost contact with. For instance, some people higher P.I. to find their parent, who has become estranged from them. Alternatively, the lost family member may have moved so many times that the searcher doesn’t know how to get in touch with them.

If your family member has disappeared from your life, you may be desperate to find them. Before hiring a professional to track them down, here are a few things to take into account.

Be Aware of Your Motivation

Before acting on your impulse, take the time to establish your true motivation for searching for this person. Moreover, before hiring a PI, you can see if you could track down your lost family member yourself. After all, these days it is easier than ever to find a person online. Moreover, you should ask yourself the following questions. What do you want to accomplish by reconnecting with this person? Why are you reaching out now, if a lot of time has passed since they became estranged? Finally, you should ask yourself whether you have any long-term plans for your relationship.

Alternatively, maybe you just want to know that they’re OK and you don’t actually want to approach them. In this case, you can look for them yourself. Public records are available for free, as long as you have their birthdate and social security number. In addition, having their address will help, even if it’s an old one.

However, if you would like to approach your lost relative, hiring a P.I. might be useful. Here are some things you should consider in that case.

Reputation and Qualifications

You must have as much information as possible about the qualifications of any P.I. you approach. Private eyes may have become ubiquitous, but how good are they at approaching people? As such, you should look for expertise and a proven track record. By all means, you should also meet them in person before hiring them and ask for their references.

Consider Boundaries

Assuming the private eye finds your family member, how will they feel about it? In fact, they may consider your behavior as crossing their boundaries. They will also know you hired a professional to find them. As a result, this might push them even farther away from you. Has your relative ever accused you of being intrusive, disrespectful, or controlling in the past? If so, you may want to reconsider engaging a professional to find them.

Have a Plan

You should also have a strategy for what you would do once you find your relative. There are many reasons why someone might become estranged from a loved one. Do you understand why they are keeping their distance from you? If you approach them the wrong way, you might lose a valuable reconciliation opportunity. However, understanding your needs and setting expectations will provide clarity. That way, you and the P.I. will understand what you hope to achieve.

Other Considerations

While we can’t deny how painful estrangement can be, some people do not wish to be found by their loved ones. Therefore, you may find yourself pushing them even further away by hiring a private eye. What’s more, you might find you were better off not knowing how your lost family member was doing, or why they took some distance from you. Before moving to hire a private investigator, it might be a good idea to do some unobtrusive research yourself. This can be accomplished by using background check sites and public record information. Once you find the relevant current information about your estranged family member, you could cautiously try to reach out. If you find their email address, you may want to send them a thoughtful email and indicate that you hope for a response.

Regardless of whether you find your relative yourself or hire someone, you should also be prepared for a negative reaction. In this case, you may want to reach out to other family members or a counselor for emotional support.

Written by Eric

37-year-old who enjoys ferret racing, binge-watching boxed sets and praying. He is exciting and entertaining, but can also be very boring and a bit grumpy.