April 24, 2015 | Share
Choosing Experts in Texas Family Law Cases
When you have a family law case, you have to show evidence of your claims. Sometimes, evidence is written or photographic, but certain kinds of testimony can add an invaluable component. The McKinney family lawyers at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC help you present compelling evidence from expert witnesses whenever it may benefit you.
Expert witnesses serve a special purpose. They aren’t people who know you or who witnessed certain actions or behavior the way other types of witnesses may have. Experts are academics or professionals who can speak to the courts about your case in an objective and highly credible way.
The combination of work experience, professional certifications and personal plus professional integrity that an expert witness brings allows his or her perspective to be accepted by the court as evidence.
When Do You Need An Expert Witness?
In a family law case, your attorney can bring in expert witnesses to help with several kinds of matters. Divorces often require that property, including real estate, joint bank and retirement accounts and businesses, be split. Child custody and co-parenting arrangements become necessary for couples with minor children.
An expert witness might be a home appraiser, business valuation expert, child psychologist or other therapist. These people work with your attorney to provide the courts their professional opinion about the matter at hand so an informed decision can be made that is accurate and fair.
Keep in mind not all family law cases require an expert witness. In fact, some cases may be harmed or at least unnecessarily prolonged by one. The American Bar Association notes several family law cases where the testimony of an expert witness hindered the case. For instance, if the witness can only comment in a capacity that sounds like telling the court what to decide, the judge will not allow the expert to testify.
The Important Traits of an Expert
Selecting an expert witness requires understanding of a balance of characteristics. In almost all instances, your lawyer will select the witness, although in some cases, such as a highly specialized business of which you know the most, you may end up contributing to the selection.
Generally speaking, the ideal expert is only occasionally an expert witness. He or she possesses hands-on or field experience and is considered accomplished within the locus of his or her work. The ideal witness can speak to your family law situation because their work experience supports their testimony.
By selecting an expert who spends most of his or her career in court, it can become challenging to guarantee that the expert hasn't testified anything that may conflict with his or her testimony for your case. If that happens, your case may be greatly undermined — but the occasional expert witness with lots of field experience and no conflicts can be a great boon.
Speak with your family law lawyer to learn whether or not your case could benefit from an expert witness. The attorneys at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC are experienced in selecting appropriate witnesses when cases call for them.
Categories: Family Law & Divorce