In Many Divorces, Hiring Experts is Key
If you think divorce may be in your future, you probably understand the difference that hiring an experienced attorney will make for your case. The process will almost certainly be faster and easier, will produce a better end result, and may even save you money. This difference is not made because attorneys are smarter than their clients – they simply have information and experience that their clients lack.
In turn, a good attorney knows when to hire an expert to assist with your case. An expert gives reliable and legally admissible facts in regards to a particular legal matter. Properly presented by your attorney, information provided by an expert can make a great difference in virtually any case. There are a few types of experts that may be employed in a divorce case.
A vocational expert is able to make an informed judgment on the work and earning potential of an individual based on his or her education, employment history, and health. This is important in cases in which alimony or child support is awarded according to a party’s potential for gainful employment (as opposed to current income). If your spouse is voluntarily underemployed, this can mean a significant difference in the amount of support awarded.
A real estate appraiser is an expert on real estate markets. A couple’s home is very often the single largest marital asset, and its value bears greatly on the division of assets. The same is true of vacation homes, timeshares, etc. To determine the property’s value, the appraiser will examine comparable sales for similar homes in the area, as well as the unique traits of your home.
A forensic accountant will analyze your financial records – credit card bills, bank statements, etc. – to develop a clear picture of your marital income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. In cases where marital lifestyle is a factor in awarding alimony, a forensic accountant will help your attorney and the court understand the nature of that lifestyle.
A business valuator is necessary when one or both parties have a significant interest in a business. In this case, understanding the value of the business is key. This expert will examine financial records and projected income to determine the business’s value.
A custody evaluator is required in almost all cases of contested child custody. Through interviews with all parties and observations in domestic settings, evaluators determine each parent’s suitability to assume custody of the children. Many cases involve three custody evaluators: one for each spouse, and one joint or court-appointed expert.
A knowledgeable family law attorney will have experience working with all of these types of experts. This advantage may make a significant difference in your divorce proceedings, as he or she will know which individual expert is best suited to advise on your particular case.