Some people are familiar with the court process and expert witnesses from watching legal procedural shows and movies. An expert witness is usually the “hired gun” who testifies on behalf of one side, blowing a hole in the other side’s case. However, in the real world, an expert’s testimony is not typically so dramatic. This does not mean that it is any less effective, though. Experts are not just used in big criminal and civil cases, they can also play an important role in family law matters, especially divorce cases.
What are Expert Witnesses?
Someone who is an expert witness has specialized training or knowledge in a specific area. The court allows this person to testify under oath because he or she has specialized expertise. These individuals do not testify about the overall merits of the divorce or who should get what. Their purpose is to answer targeted questions about their specialty areas.
Examples of Different Expert Witnesses Used in Illinois Divorce Cases
Depending on the circumstances, there may be several different experts that your Illinois divorce attorney might use. Common experts include:
- Financial Accountants and Experts: Financial experts and accountants are some of the most common types of experts used in divorce cases. These experts can do everything from help provide a business valuation to try and uncover assets that one spouse is hiding.
- Property and Real Estate Experts: If you and your spouse have multiple pieces of land, a vacation home, rental property, or other real estate, you may need someone to come up with a realistic value of these properties. This is where a real estate expert’s testimony comes in handy. If you have artwork, collectibles, jewelry, antiques, or other heirlooms, you may need a property expert who is an expert in evaluating the value of these items so they can be fairly divided during the divorce.
- Therapists or Child Psychologists: There may be certain divorce cases that could benefit from the testimony of a therapist, social worker, child psychologist, or doctor. This is common when there are allegations of abuse, or the parents had a tumultuous home life. The retained expert will evaluate the child and his or her living environment. From there, the expert can make recommendations on what course of action is best for the child.
- Vocational Expert: Vocational experts can be used when determining one spouse’s earning capacity and potential for spousal support purposes. This may be necessary when one spouse has been out of the workforce for years, or if someone is deliberately not earning much in hopes of shirking his or her responsibility to pay support.
The courts are not required to follow an expert’s recommendation or opinion; however, they typically carry some significant weight with the presiding judge.
Contact an Illinois Divorce Attorney
If you need assistance with your pending divorce, contact SAM LAW OFFICE LLC today to schedule an initial consultation.