The use of experts in a divorce case

Although many divorces in Florida and elsewhere start off on a relatively amicable basis, couples frequently are unable to agree on certain issues. On such occasions, the testimony of experts is often relied upon to come to a determination. These professionals can be separately retained by either or both spouses or appointed by the court. In either case, expert testimony is considered reliable and admissible, and there are several types of experts that often play a role in these matters.

Psychological experts are sometimes used to help determine child custody issues. These professionals can observe the family and the effects of the divorce upon the children and render opinions regarding proposed custody and visitation plans. Such an expert can also provide counseling to family members during and after the divorce.

A high net worth divorce may require the use of different types of professionals to help arrive at property division agreements. A real estate expert may be needed to provide an appraisal on the marital home or other real property in order to arrive at valuations that the couple may be otherwise unable to agree upon. Business valuation experts are often called upon to assess the value of a couple's business as well as to determine which portion should be classified as marital property and which could be deemed separately owned.

A vocational expert may be necessary to evaluate the earning potential of an unemployed spouse by assessing the spouse's education, skill level and areas of expertise. This could be important in determining the capability of such spouse to comply with a court-ordered spousal or child support award. Divorce attorneys are likely to be familiar with many of these types of expert professionals and may be able to determine whether their retention would be helpful in a particular situation.

Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce Confidential: Using Experts In Your Divorce", Caroline Choi, October 24, 2013

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