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Hiring Guide on Family Law Expert Witness

For various issues within or about a family, a lawyer may hire a family law expert witness to assist with explaining numerous complications and problems that are related to a case. The hiring of these professionals should be relevant to the incident, and this could lead to hiring a professionals with a different background than would be expected such as a psychologist or medical professional.

A family law expert witness has a background in the family life, children, psychology, family dynamics, divorce or similar areas. Hiring the right professionals depends greatly on what the issue is and how it affects the family. If the concern centers around issues with the children or medical problems for the parents, this could mean that a psychologist, psychiatrist or a medical expert is needed to assist with understanding, medication or treatment. Social workers are hired when the matter involves a child that has been taken from the family unit. Forensic accountants are hired for divorce proceedings and property divisions.

The hiring guide many use will branch into these five sections. Some of these experts have knowledge or experience in multiple fields, but they specialize in only one in most circumstances. However, the family law expert witness
must have had time within the courtroom presenting testimony, have worked with children or the parents in a family previously or has and understanding of family dynamics. Then, the lawyer may decide upon the correct person after interviewing several. The professional must be excellent at communication, form a strong bond with the family and keep everyone updated the moment anything changes.

For Mental Assistance

When an expert is needed to perform fitness of mind and for evaluations in child custody, a psychologist expert is hired. He or she may evaluate and determine the fitness of handling a child, the relationships of each spouse with the youths and the interactions of the young persons with each other. Recommendations are provided by this professional based on his or her findings in these matters and who should be permitted primary custody. This person also advises visitation and secondary custody. However, these professionals are expensive and take time to give these examinations. The judge gives more weight to these experts than a standard witness due to the expertise and experience these professionals possess.

Psychiatric experts may perform the same activities that a psychologist may accomplish, but they are also used as family law experts and may prescribe medication. Their primary concern deals with the mental health of the parents rather than the children. They may advise on matters of chemical dependency or reliance, sexual appetites, mental illnesses and conditions and similar concerns. So that child custody is awarded to the correct parent, these experts are hired to assess the spouses when the battle becomes difficult. This serves the entire family and puts the child’s interests first. If the child is in need of psychiatric assistance, a professional that specializes in child psychiatry may be hired for a custody dispute.

Social Workers, Doctors and Accountants

When family issues are occurring, the social worker may become involved when there is a custody dispute or if there is domestic abuse in the home. These persons may work with doctors or separately. Some of these are direct social workers in helping solve problems and others are clinical who diagnose and treat mental issues. If a doctor is needed for medical problems, he or she may treat the physical symptoms and attempt to cure any other conditions that may exist. If the mind has been found to be the problem, he or she may refer the parent or child to a psychologist.

If the family issues progress to a divorce, a forensic accountant may be hired as an expert in the matter to assist in the divorce proceedings. These professionals may evaluate property, help in division of assets and debts and help in explaining certain details. Other monetary issues such as retirement, trusts, estate plans and similar items may be calculated and adjusted with the help of a forensic accountant.

The Family Law Expert Witness

Hiring guides for expert witnesses vary greatly depending on the type of expert needed and the type of case involved. When the correct professional has been identified, it is important to interview multiple persons to find the right fit. Then, the expert may work with the clients to determine how to proceed and what is needed for documentation, steps for success and resolution of problems.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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