What Types of Experts May Be Needed in My Florida Divorce?
Expert witnesses are likely familiar to many people, especially if you watch legal dramas and procedural shows on television. These shows often depict experts as the hired guns who come into the courtroom and present damaging evidence that ultimately wins the case for one side. While there is some element of truth to this, the use of expert witnesses is not limited to criminal trials and doesn’t always involve a show of theatrics or a big turning moment.
Instead, experts are used in a variety of different legal matters — everything from personal injury cases to Florida divorce and child custody cases. An expert witness is someone who has the necessary education, training, expertise, and experience to be relied on for their opinion. Their testimony can be used to prove or disprove something, and you almost always will have experts on each side who provide conflicting information, as they are there to support their own client’s position.
It’s important to point out that an expert’s testimony is limited to their area of expertise. That means someone testifying about financial details is not qualified to say which parent should have custody.
Wondering what types of experts you may encounter or need for your Florida divorce? Here’s a look at several experts your Boca Raton divorce attorney may need to retain depending on individual circumstances.
One of the most common types of experts needed in a divorce is someone who specializes in finances. With high-asset-portfolio divorces or when there is a business involved, it’s worth having an expert weigh in on valuation. Also, you may want a financial expert in situations where your spouse is potentially hiding assets. Financial experts like forensic accountants can dig deep and learn whether your spouse has been hiding assets, trying to dispose of them to avoid being included in the property distribution phase of the divorce, etc.
Medical Professionals – Therapists and Psychologists
There may be a need for a therapist or psychologist to weigh in on matters that involve allegations of abuse or a tumultuous home life. Even testimony from a social worker may be considered under this category. This expert will evaluate your children and their living situation. He or she will make recommendations based on their findings as to what would be in the best interest of the child. The court is not obligated to follow the expert’s recommendations, but it will carry weight with the judge when they are making their ruling.
Property and Real Estate Experts
Do you own a lot of real estate or valuable personal property? You may need an appraiser who can testify as to the value of these assets. This is especially applicable in divorce matters where the couple owns artwork, antiques, or jewelry.
A vocational expert may be needed to help determine the earning potential for a spouse in connection with alimony and child support awards. These experts can look at someone’s work history, training, skills, and education to determine what their future earning capacity is. This includes factoring in a number of variables like downturns in the industry, being out of the job market for years, etc.
Contact a Florida Divorce Attorney