Do I Need An Expert Witness In My Divorce Case?
When you are getting divorced, you are going to have to resolve issues of property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. Modifying court orders on these issues can be very difficult and requires a high burden of proof, so it is important to get it right the first time. One of the most important steps in reaching this goal is to determine whether you need the help of an expert witness. Luckily, your divorce attorney will know whether you need to hire an expert witness to testify in court on your behalf or help you settle your case. Here is a brief overview of the types of expert witnesses commonly needed in divorce cases.
Valuation Experts for Property and Alimony Issues
In determining issues of property division and spousal support, you may need the assistance of various experts. A vocational expert can explain to the courts your ability to earn income now and in the future. This may be an important consideration in determining the amount of spousal support (alimony) you receive.
When it comes to dividing property, a real estate appraiser can be employed to testify as to the value of you and your spouse’s marital residence in addition to other real estate you and your spouse may own.
While personal property appraisers are typically not used in divorce cases, they can be extremely helpful in evaluating the value of any collectibles you and your spouse own (such as guns, coins, stamps, etc.) as well as antiques or jewelry.
If you or your spouse owns a business, a CPA or accountant will be able to accurately value the business and trace your contributions and share of the company. An accountant will also be able to discover whether your spouse is hiding assets or devaluing their company.
Child Custody Experts
In child custody cases, different types of experts may be needed. For custody and visitation issues, the court will need to decide what is in the best interests of your minor children. Sometimes, the court will appoint a child custody evaluator to interview your children, talk to important people in your children’s lives (teachers, babysitters, close family members, etc.), or conduct psychological tests on your children. The evaluator will then provide recommendations to the court regarding which custody and visitation arrangements will be in the best interests of your children.
In addition, the court may decide that you or your spouse’s mental health must be evaluated to determine what custody and visitation schedule is best. In these circumstances, the court will require you and/or your spouse to get evaluated by a mental health expert.
Though hiring an expert witness in your divorce can raise the costs of ending your marriage, it can make the difference between your receiving a large or small alimony award, having income imputed to you in determining child support, or the size of your share in a family business or real estate owned by you and your spouse.
If you are preparing for divorce or involved in a custody battle, you need an attorney who knows when to hire an expert witness, which expert(s) to hire and who will fight for your rights. The qualified family law lawyers at DiPietro Family Law Group have years of experience handling divorce and custody cases in jurisdictions across Northern Virginia and Washington, DC. Contact us to schedule a consultation today at (703) 370 – 5555.
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