20 Apr Expert Witnesses
By reading our website, you may see some mention of what are called “expert witnesses.” Read on to find out what these people are, and how they may become key players in your case.
An expert witness is a professional who is uniquely qualified to testify about their area of expertise. Experts are usually hired guns. By that, I mean they usually have no involvement in the case other than being asked by one side to review the situation and express their opinion.
The judge will determine who qualifies as an expert witness. The determination is made on the expert’s experience, education, and experience. Sometimes we see the other side retain an “expert” who is not qualified to render expert opinions. Or, they try to improperly use an expert to express opinions that should not be considered by the judge. Rest assured that we have seen every trick in the book, and we will aggressively protect your interests inside and outside of the courtroom.
Your case may require the use of expert testimony. In many cases, using an expert has become a key part of our plan for victory. But like all professionals, the value, quality, and cost of an expert varies from one to another. That is why it is valuable to have an experienced divorce attorney handle your case.
Your spouse may have their own experts whose testimony may directly conflict with our expert witnesses. Unfortunately, it seems like you can hire anyone to say anything these days. But rest assured we have a number of strategies to ensure that the truth comes out in court. We can attack the other expert’s credibility, education, experience, and opinions through a number of legal techniques.
Some cases never require expert testimony. Mr. Radeline can assist you in determining exactly what types of experts will be part of your team. He will explain the reason for his recommendations, and the final decision is always left to you.
There are experts in many different fields. Below is a list of some of the more common types of expert witnesses:
- Forensic accountant— a forensic accountant is an accountant who is retained for use in litigation and who will render opinions regarding issues such as taxes and business valuation.
- Appraisers— an appraiser is someone who determines the value of property. There are different types of appraisers. A real estate appraiser can be used for the house, and a different type of appraiser may be used for the antique collection.
- Vocational Rehabilitation— a vocational rehabilitation specialist is someone who can provide expert opinions regarding education and the job market. We may use this type of expert when there is a significant alimony claim.
- Social Investigator— usually court-appointed, a social investigator will normally conduct interviews with the parents and children, perform home inspections, and discuss the children’s status with their counselors. Since social investigators are usually court appointed, the judge may pay more particular attention to their conclusions than an expert retained by one side or the other.
- Counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists— if one spouse or a child is seeing a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist, then that person may be called as a witness in the case.
- Medical doctor— in some cases, the physical condition of a spouse is an issue. This can occur with significant alimony claims, or if it is relevant for child custody purposes. A medical doctor (either one who has treated the person or one who is retained solely as an expert to review the ongoing treatment and offer expert opinions) can be used to testify in court.
- Business valuation specialist— if one spouse owns a professional practice or a small business, a business valuation specialist would be used to examine the overall financials of the business and help estimate a value for the business.
If you think your case may require an expert witness, you should discuss this with your attorney. If you do not have an attorney, you should retain one for your case. Trying to select, retain, and use an expert witness at trial is an almost impossible task for you to successfully accomplish at trial without an attorney. If your spouse has an expert, doing the opposition research and properly negating the value of your spouse’s expert will be a very daunting task. Don’t go it alone– contact us Board Certified Divorce Expert Charles D. Radeline to see how we can help.