Expert witnesses are often used outside of litigation and are not reserved for use in court only. They can help in various dispute resolution methods, including mediation, arbitration, and collaborative divorce. The value of using an expert is their knowledge, experience, and vitally, their unemotional and unbiased view of the outcome. In divorce proceedings, expert witnesses are often in the financial or psychological fields.
Within the financial realm, expert testimony may be used to value assets such as a family home, considering the real market value and not just the price you paid. Expert witnesses in the psychological or social fields are often called upon when there are disputes over child custody or general concerns about the suitability of a parent. Legally speaking, it is difficult to show that a parent is fit. Experts in child care and child psychology may offer their professional opinions and show what is best for the child.
Experts are not asked to give sweeping opinions or recommendations for the overall case and are generally used for specific and isolated issues. Again, their testimony is not set in stone, but it is weighted much more heavily than any testimony by spouses in dispute.
What Types of Expert Witnesses are Used in Family Law?
The following are examples of experts that may be used in your divorce trial, mediation, arbitration, or collaborative law process. There are many more areas that may come into play depending on the specifics of your case.
Small Business Experts – This type of expert is particularly valuable to our self-employed clients. Your spouse may claim that your business is valued higher or that your projected income is greater than it may truly be. Business experts can set realistic expectations and settle this type of dispute.
Financial Experts – The financial aspects of a divorce can be astonishingly complex, regardless of whether or not the clients have a high net worth. Valuing retirement assets, small businesses, properties, cost of child care, and endless other complications may require the assistance of a financial professional.
Medical Experts – Medical professionals may be called in to determine the cost of healthcare for a child or a spouse in a divorce. This testimony may have an impact on alimony or child support eligibility and/or amounts.
Psychologists – Especially in cases involving domestic violence, psychologists and social workers may be called up as expert witnesses. These experts have the child’s best interests at heart and will make recommendations as to what situations would be most beneficial to the child’s physical and psychological well being. The courts are not obligated to accept this testimony, but these recommendations carry considerable weight.
Real Estate Experts – Going back to the example of valuing a family home, real estate experts can help to accurately value all owned properties, which may make up a large chunk of their total assets.
Contact our experienced Bergen County firm
At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to understand and protect their legal rights before, during, and after the divorce process in towns across New Jersey and Bergen County, including Hackensack, Ridgewood, Paramus, Teaneck, and Fort Lee. To speak with our team of divorce lawyers today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your concerns about your divorce, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.