What you should know about Expert Witnesses:
Family lawyer Melissa Graham-Hurd has the experience to guide you when there is an issue that may need an expert to testify and explain complex issues.
When Do I Need An Expert?
To Value Assets:
An expert is a person with special knowledge about a subject that qualifies the person to give an opinion in court. We must value everything of importance in a divorce case.
- Are the values of the assets high enough to justify the cost of an expert appraiser?
- Do you know an approximate value?
- Are the estimations you and your spouse each gave close enough?
- Is there another method to get a true value (internet information, sales of similar items, etc.)?
- Do you need a personal property appraiser for a collection of things (cars, tools, antiques, stamps)?
- Do you need an appraisal of real estate?
- Do you need to determine the real estate value before the marriage started and the increase/decrease in value due to marital contributions or due to market forces?
To Recommend Parenting:
If custody (allocation of parental rights and responsibilities) is an issue, will it be helpful to have a psychologist or counselor to guide the court in its decisions? Do the children or parents have psychological disorders?
To Value a Business or Determine True Income:
If there is an ongoing business owned and operated by one of the spouses to a divorce, a business evaluation expert is almost always preferred.
Do you need a business appraiser to help gain income information for the business owner? Are personal expenses being paid by the business?
Is the value of a business or partnership to be divided or allocated in the termination of the marriage?
Is a vocational expert needed to show potential income for an unemployed or under-employed spouse or to show the need for education and training to become self-supporting?
Can a professional help show future expenses?
To Value a Retirement Asset:
Do you need an evaluation of a defined benefit pension to determine its present value?
Did one of the spouses start the marriage with a retirement asset?
Have the holdings in a defined contribution retirement plan changed over time and need to be traced?
Costs and Expenses:
Most experts expect a retainer fee before beginning to work. Some will do the work for a fixed fee and others will bill hourly against the retainer. These litigation costs are always borne by the client and are not part of the attorney’s fees. It is always hoped that a trustworthy expert’s report will be accepted without live testimony, which comes at a higher cost.
Be Guided by Experienced Counsel
Family law Attorney Melissa Graham-Hurd has dealt with many expert witnesses in her more than 25 years working with families. Be guided by her knowledge and experience in choosing the right expert for your case.
THIS INFORMATION IS INTENDED TO BE A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF EXPERT WITNESSES AND IS NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE ON YOUR PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES. IT IS ONLY INTENDED TO ASSIST YOU IN UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS.
IF YOU SHOULD HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CALL THE OFFICE TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT – 330-996-4099.