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A New Private Investigator To Secure Evidence Of Cohabitation


Trust a leader when you need evidence legally collected, former Jersey City Police Chief Bob Cowan will personally conduct your investigation

Trust a proven leader when you need evidence legally collected, former Jersey City Police Chief Bob Cowan will personally conduct your investigation

Work With A New Jersey Private Investigator You Can Trust For Your Alimony Cohabitation Investigation, Contact Former Jersey City Police Chief Bob Cowan For A free 30 minute consultation

(scroll down for a recent testimonial)


A Private Investigator Must Have The Proper Equipment To Conduct A Cohabitation Investigation

The best time to gather enough evidence of cohabitation is during the “first investigation” by a New Jersey Private Investigator.  Once the recipient of alimony gets “raised up” there is an cohabitation/alimony investigation into their living arrangements it will be much harder to obtain evidence of the cohabitation.  The ex-spouse will begin to take more precautions with their living arrangements to conceal their continuing fraud. As you know, knowledge of the involvement of a private investigator is never good for an investigation.  Because of the need to protect the integrity of its investigations, Cowan Investigations owns and deploys three surveillance vehicles that are a fit in most any environment.  These vehicles include a surveillance van in which investigations can be conducted from the rear of the parked vehicle without the investigator being being detected while the van appears to be unoccupied.  In addition, Cowan Investigations deploys state of the art surveillance equipment both video and audio.

During my investigations I will do anything for my client that is legally permissible in order to gather evidence of cohabitation.  I will utilize my background, knowledge and the investigative experience  acquired during my thirty four plus years rising through the ranks of the Jersey City Police Department.


Legalities Of Investigative Procedures Deployed In Most New Jersey Cohabitation Investigations

California V. Greenwood And State Of  New Jersey V. Hempele Federal And State Case Law Concerning Seizure Of Garbage

Under a concept known as New Federalism States are permitted under their own State Constitutions to provide more rights to their citizens then the base-line rights  provided for under the  United States Constitution. However, States may never provide less rights then provided for under the United States Constitution the Greenwood/Hempele Line Of Cases is an on point example of New Federalism.  It is important to keep two things in mind when considering these two cases, cases in which decisions were made by both the Federal Courts and the New Jersey Courts;

1.  The decisions were made under the rights of individuals under the fourth amendment to be free from unreasonable “Government Intrusion” (search and seizure),

2.  Private Investigators are not “Government Actors” so Private Investigators are not governed by the fourth ammendment

The Supreme Court of The United States held that the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit the warrantless search and seizure of garbage left for collection “outside the curtilage” of the home.,

In Contrast, the New Jersey Supreme Court in State V. Hempele has ruled that although police can seize garbage left at curbside under the concept of abandonment New Jersey Police would need a search warrant in order to search the seized garbage

First and foremost, this case applies to “Police Seizure” of a person’s garbage. It is important to realize the fourth amendment applies only to government actors (police) not private citizens (private investigators).  Stated another way, if the police can seize a person’s garbage taken from outside the curtilage of a person’s home, so can a private investigator.   In cohabitation/alimony investigations I have conducted where the targets trash was left at curbside, I will often utilize this investigative procedure. The best time to conduct  garbage pulls is the very early morning hours. Dependent on the circumstances I will often wait to the latter part of an Alimony Investigation before risking the trash pull. Potential evidence acquired from the trash is taken and searched for signs of cohabitation.  This “garbage pull” investigatory procedure often yields compelling evidence of cohabitation which will assist your attorney in addressing alimony responsibilities.

With all of this said, this is an investigative procedure that as a New Jersey Private Investigator I will often employ. However,  the trash pull could be open to interpretation in New Jersey Family Courts.  As in any analysis a Court will conduct there is always a potential the evidence collected could be inadmissible.  Be careful of  a New Jersey Private Investigator who tells you the seizure and search of a targets garbage left at curbside will be absolutely admissible. There are no absolutes in New Jersey Court Rooms.


A Good New Jersey Private Investigator Thinks Outside The Box When Conducting A Cohabitation Investigation

The Plain View Doctrine:

Trust a proven leader when you need evidence legally collected, former Jersey City Police Chief Bob Cowan will personally conduct your investigation

Trust a proven leader when you need evidence legally collected, former Jersey City Police Chief Bob Cowan will personally conduct your investigation

The Plain View Doctrine is an exception to the warrant requirement which allows “officers” to seize items of evidence which they observe and immediately recognize as evidence or contraband while they (police) are lawfully present in an area protected by the fourth amendment”.

Keep in mind the earlier discussion where I explain how the fourth amendment applies to government actors (police), not private citizens (private investigators). Essentially, in cases of searches, if the police can do it a New Jersey Private Investigator can certainly do it.   There is currently established Case Law where police officers posing as a couple entered a home on an investigation without a warrant where a real estate agent was conducting an open house for prospective buyers.  The officers in search of evidence walked through the house and looked into closets just as any prospective purchaser would do.  During this search the officers observed evidence that they were able to include in an affidavit for a search warrant of the home.   The targets of the search warrant subsequently objected because they perceived their right to an expectation of privacy had been violated by the officers walking around their house looking for evidence of wrong doing.  The court sided with the police finding that the residents had a diminished expectation of privacy because they had opened their home for inspection, the police were lawfully present in the home when they observed evidence to include in their affidavit to obtain a search warrant. It was of no consequence that police utilized a pretense to enter the home.


Examples Of Real Life Undercover Cohabitation Investigations by a New Jersey Private Investigator

Holding this thought and analysis in regard to the Plain View Doctrine; some time ago I was retained by a client who had previously retained another private investigator to investigate an issue of cohabitation.  Upon being retained and taking over the cohabitation investigation I subsequently discovered the target of the investigation had his/her home listed for sale for a period of time when the cohabitation/alimony investigation was in the hands of the previous investigator.  I was astonished to discover the previous investigator had not embraced this home sale as an opportunity to legally gain access to the home in order to legally observe and record potential evidence of cohabitation; more importantly, the investigator could have had an opportunity to have engaged the target of the investigation in conversation and/or the real estate agent (who might have had some useful background information); and of course all conversations could have been legally recorded and entered into evidence because the investigator would be party to the conversation.  In a cohabitation/alimony investigation it is essential the investigator you retain is willing to ‘think outside the box’ rather than take the standard course of action of sitting in a car on their butt taking photographs.

It is my hope after you have read this, you come away with the understanding that there is a lot more to a cohabitation/alimony investigation than just taking photographs of a parked vehicle which is suspected of belonging to your ex-spouses house mate.  It is shocking how many people will not conduct their due diligence research on a potential investigator and just click on the phone number of a private detective who runs a fancy advertisement.

At risk of being corny I am going to plagiarize one of my favorite advertisements from Sy Syms, “An educated consumer is our best customer”.



“I engaged Robert Cowan to conduct an investigation to document my ex-wife’s cohabitation for the purpose of filing a motion with the family court to terminate permanent alimony. Mr. Cowan formulated and executed a comprehensive investigative plan, which included: social media analysis, background research, early morning and late evening camera and video surveillance conducted in a difficult-to-access rural setting, vehicle registration searches, refuse and recycling pulls, vehicle sighting reports, and even a visit with my ex-wife under the guise of a potential customer responding to a Craig’s list ad. All of these activities were professionally conducted with an acute awareness and strict adherence to admissibility of evidence rules. Mr. Cowan summarized all his findings in concise reports that included photographs and videos of his activities. I highly recommend Robert Cowan to lead your investigation. He was so much more than a hired expert. He was my partner in the legal search for the truth….and his determination to WIN “our” case could not have been greater! “

Thank you, 
Robert D.- Sept 2017, 5 Star Google Review


Absolutely precise, professional, and excellent detective. Bob is friendly and super efficient in everything he does. There is NO BETTER than Cowan Investigations. He is worth every penny and some. If you need private detective work done, this is the man you want. Our co habitation case was proven, still pending court, but still proven on paper ! Thanks a million to Cowan Investigations.

Sandra – Dec. 2017 5 star Google Review


Get started with an expert investigator in NJ cohabitation law. Contact Cowan Investigations.

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Social Reviews

Cowan Investigations Icon Cowan Investigations

2360 Lakewood Road suite 3 unit 236, Toms River

5.0 32 reviews

  • Avatar Tommy Musselman ★★★★★ a month ago
    I didn't personally have the pleasure of meeting Mr. Cowan but Liz was so incredibly efficient and professional!! Within hrs she had already gotten answers to a question that has tormented me for a long time.
    If you need ANY investigative
    … More work done trust Cowan. This was my 1st time dealing with an investigative service and I was best pleased!! 5 stars all the way! A special thank you to Liz. You're a dear and I will always remember your warmth, sympathy and professionalism. Always.
  • Avatar Anthony S ★★★★★ 6 months ago
    Best of the Best!
    Worked with Bob during his tenure as the former Chief of the Jersey City Police Department. All I can say is that you will be getting what you pay for with this results driven company.
    A leader within the industry with
    … More over 34+ years in law enforcement as well as a proven track record of accomplishments in the field. If I needed a private investigator, Cowan Investigations would be my first choice, hands down.
  • Avatar Jay White ★★★★★ 7 months ago
    As a retired Deputy Police Chief with the Jersey City Police Department I had the privilege of working with Bob Cowan for over 25 years.
    Bob is an honest and ethical professional who shows empathy towards people in unfortunate situations.
    … More
    Bob’s objective analysis and evaluation of an issue enables him to address the true problem at hand.
    His strong analytical abilities coupled with thorough research and attention to detail make him an ideal private investigator.
    I know his clients will receive a comprehensive detailed report that will stand up in any hearing or court of law.
    Bob is a high caliber dedicated professional who will give it his all to address the issues at hand and achieve results.
  • Avatar Rae ★★★★★ 10 months ago
    I would highly recommend Cowan Investigations. From the time you speak to Liz on the phone until the time Bob is finished with the investigation you will always know what is going on, what is taking place, and what they found. You will … More be provided with detailed information and surveillance. Bob is very well trained in this field and will provide you with outstanding work. Both Bob and Liz are very compassionate and caring people and make you feel comfortable through the whole process. At the end of the investigation you’ll know that you have hired the right people for the job.
  • Avatar Sarah V ★★★★★ 11 months ago
    I have been married for over 25 years, 2 years ago things just started not feeling right, I started having suspicions that my husband was cheating. I felt trapped, I was embarrassed to talk about it with anyone. I put up with feeling … More this way for two years.
    I began researching private investigators because I was fed up with being lied to and deceived, talked to like I was crazy. I called a few investigators but I did not feel comfortable, I felt like I was talking to used car salesmen. Just before I was going to give up I called Cowan Investigations. From the minute I began speaking to Liz Cowan I began to feel comfortable, she was very genuine, caring and knowledgeable on how to proceed. Liz set up a call with Bob who I immediately could tell was very experienced and knew how to proceed.
    Over a 4 day period Bob and Joe uncovered the evidence I needed to confront the lies and other deceptions I was subjected to, which let me make the decisions I needed to make for myself. Above all I was able to regain my self respect by getting the proof I needed.
    From time Liz answered the phone until Bob and Joe finished the investigation, I was overwhelmed by the professionalism and caring they displayed towards me and the investigation.
    Thanks again Liz, Bob and Joe, you’re the best
  • Avatar Fidel Hernandez ★★★★★ 11 months ago
    If there was a way to give this Gentleman ten stars, I would. Don't be mistaken by the use of the word "gentleman" he is a hound and he zeros in on the minutia of the investigation. He is a real detective with a extensive … More background in law enforcement.
    I thought that I had a really good understanding of my case and then I hired Bob Cowan. He exposed so many things that were hidden in plain sight that it blew my mind and consequently gave me much needed peace of mind.
    From the time he took my case, he kept in constant contact with me. All throughout, he explained things in way that I could understand. He was reassuring, professional and the best guy for the job!
    I am in the unenviable position of knowing what I am saying. It can and is, at times, overwhelming when you have to hire a private investigator. This usually arises from a traumatic experience and the reason why you should surround yourself with someone who knows what this experience fells like.
    I trust Bob Cowan and hope he continues to help others, like he helped me. I am grateful to have been referred to him! Thank you, Sir.
    And yes, I would be remiss if I didn't thank his wife Liz. She took my initial phone call and she knew I needed his help. She was warm and kind. Just what you need when you are faced with these situations...Thank you, Liz.
  • Avatar Susie K ★★★★★ 11 months ago
    I recently had the need to use a private investigator. After looking at several options, I decided to call Cowan Investigations. The decision to call them turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. I really like the fact that … More Mr. Cowan has a law enforcement background and is a former Chief of Police for Jersey City. After my first conversation with Liz Cowan I knew I had called the right people. She made me feel very comfortable when I answered all the questions she needed to get the facts regarding a very complicated situation. Liz is very thorough, caring, and very professional and usually available when I had questions. Liz and Bob make you, their priority. I NEVER had to worry if Mr. Cowan would be working on my case at the time I was promised. He was always at the location, on time, very descrete and went way above and beyond my expectations. I was informed of the progress on a daily basis and over a period of 4-5 days, had enough evidence to prove my case. The reports are very professionally written with dates and time stamped. It says a lot when my lawyer called Bob Cowan and complimented him on the great report he gave to my lawyer, to take to court. I feel the evidence gathered by Cowan Investigations and presented to the judge, by my lawyer, made a huge difference in the judge's decision. I met Mr. Cowan and shook his hand after I won the case. I highly recommend Cowan Investigations and will definitely use them again if needed. Thank you for all your hard work, you are the best!

Cowan Investigations
Based on 3 reviews
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Hector Vargas
Hector Vargas
7 hours ago
amazing job being done for the community.
Bill Schaff
Bill Schaff
10 hours ago
We cannot thank Bob and Liz enough for helping us with a matter that was probably outside the realm of their normal practice. They were instrumental in assisting us in reaching out to an unscrupulous used car salesman. The individual wouldn't return our calls and obviously, did not wish to be found.Due to their tireless efforts and many phone calls, we were finally put in touch with him. With their help, the situation was fully resolved! They handled the situation with the utmost care and professionalism. We strongly recommend Cowan Investigations as they are very good at what they do!
Justin Delaney
Justin Delaney
March 18, 2018 ·
Cowan Investigations
Based on 1 Reviews
Fidel H.
Fidel H.
2019-11-28 07:20:51
On this thanksgiving day, I can say that I am very grateful for the peace of mind this detailed investigator gave me. Not only did he provide me with the...