Expert Witnesses in California Divorce Cases
Divorce is likely to be one of the most challenging experiences of your life. Even if you and your spouse are relatively civil and agreeable with one another, the reality is that the divorce process is hugely trying in many ways. Whether you are concerned about the financial implications of your divorce or are struggling to reconcile your personal feelings about the matter, it’s imperative to understand that any divorce case has the potential to escalate into an incredibly complex court battle.
While family law is unique from other areas of the law in many ways, there are some common threads among family, civil, and criminal law. One of these is the value that expert witnesses can provide in some instances, particularly those that involve highly complex or easily misunderstood technical concepts, complicated financial entanglements, and issues regarding physical and mental health.
Expert witnesses are professionals with solid credentials who participate in active legal cases to provide the court with a greater understanding of the elements in play. Whether you intend to pursue divorce mediation or litigate your divorce case, you may require the assistance of one or more expert witnesses in your divorce case.
Medical Experts in Divorce
Some divorcing spouses suffer from medical disabilities and conditions that influence their standard of living and ability to work. It’s common for disabled spouses to be entirely financially dependent on their spouses. Should they divorce under these conditions, the disabled spouse may require ongoing financial support to manage these medical costs and live independently.
You may require input from a medical professional if your divorce requires you to prove your medical status to secure alimony or even child support if you are disabled but awarded custody of your children. Medical experts can explain to the court the full extent of your condition and its financial implications for your life.
Social Work Experts for Child Custody Determination
It’s common for a child custody determination to be the most hotly contested element of a divorce case. It’s natural for any parent to want to secure the most expansive custody rights they can manage in their divorce cases, and it’s possible for both parents in a divorce to be capable of providing the same exceptional quality of life for their children. Your custody determination may require careful investigation and input from a qualified professional. For example, social workers and child psychologists can testify as to what type of custody arrangement would best suit a child with special needs.
These experts can also help uncover the truth behind allegations of domestic violence and child abuse. For example, if you are concerned that your spouse has abused or mistreated your children but do not have solid evidence to prove your suspicions, expert witnesses can perform diagnostic tests and provide counseling to help you uncover the truth. They can also help the court understand what type of lifestyle would best suit a child with medical conditions, developmental delays, or other special needs.
Financial Experts in High Net Worth Divorce Cases
Financial issues are often contested in divorce cases, especially in high net worth divorces in which millions of dollars could be at stake for both spouses. As a result, financial experts can play crucial roles in high net worth divorce cases. For example, they may help divorcing spouses complete their financial disclosures, or they may be called to testify concerning the separate property ownership rights of the divorcing spouses.
Tax professionals can also be essential parts of a divorce case. These professionals can help divorcing spouses understand the tax implications their divorce will have for both of them. In addition, they can assist during divorce mediation, ultimately providing both of the divorcing spouses with valuable tax advice and helping them reach a more agreeable property division settlement that does not cause significant tax implications for either of them.
Forensic Experts for Uncovering Fraud and Breached Fiduciary Duties
If you suspect your spouse has hidden assets of any kind or has otherwise been untruthful during divorce proceedings, there are several expert witnesses who may be able to assist your case. For example, a forensic accountant could help you uncover hidden assets or establish a paper trail that establishes your spouse’s debt liabilities. On the other hand, if you have a prenuptial contract and believe your spouse has violated its terms, you may need help from a private investigator or another research expert to help you prove your case.
For example, if you have a prenuptial contract that includes terms related to alimony, your contract could stipulate that if your spouse engages in adultery, they forfeit their claim of alimony. If you suspect your spouse has cheated on you and satisfied this term, you may require a private investigator to prove your suspicions so you can avoid paying alimony.
How Can Expert Witnesses Participate in Divorce Cases?
Your divorce may require the assistance of one or more expert witnesses. In most cases, expert witnesses perform two kinds of roles in divorces: consulting and testimony. A consulting expert witness will not actively participate in the case, but they will provide a signed statement to an attorney concerning a highly technical, financially complex, or medical issue related to the divorce so the attorney can more accurately represent their client.
A testifying expert witness plays a more direct role in divorce proceedings. These experts will take the witness stand and provide their objective professional interpretations of various aspects of the case, helping the court understand the issues with greater clarity. A good divorce attorney will explain the value that expert witnesses can provide and arrange for expert witness participation in their client’s case, whether that involves consulting, testimony, or both.
If you are heading for divorce and believe your case may be more complicated than you initially anticipated, the right expert witnesses can provide clarity and allow you to approach the situation with more confidence. The attorneys at Bickford, Blado & Botros have years of experience representing clients in highly complex divorce cases, and over the years of our firm’s operation, we have cultivated an extensive list of professional contacts who can assist our clients. So, if you are ready to speak with a reliable attorney about your impending divorce, contact us today to schedule a consultation. We will review your situation and let you know what our team can do to assist you.
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