In hostile divorces, couples are often unable to come to an agreement about important issues such as parenting responsibilities and the division of assets. These issues can become contentious to the point where a trial is the only way to reach a resolution in the divorce.
When a divorce goes to trial, a judge will make decisions about contested issues according to Illinois law. However, before such decisions can be made, the judge needs to understand the divorcing couple’s situation. Each spouse’s attorney will make an argument to the judge and try to convince them that their client’s perspective is correct. One way to do this is through the use of something called an expert witness.
What is an Expert Witness?
An expert witness is an individual whose experience qualifies them to form an opinion regarding an issue relevant to the case. The witness testifies before the court about things such as child welfare, a parent’s mental health, or a business’s financial value. A spouse could independently hire an expert witness to advocate for their perspective, or the court may require an expert witness and require one or both parties to pay the cost.
Expert witnesses can demonstrate their competence through education, skill, or experience. They must explain the reasons for formulating their opinion, describe the methods they used, and provide any relevant data, such as test results or documents.
How Can an Expert Witness Help?
The function of the expert witness will change according to the argument being made. For example, if parents disagree about who should be given parental responsibilities, an expert witness may be someone who is qualified to evaluate parenting capabilities, such as a child psychologist or custody evaluator.
Another example is that of a forensic accountant, who is often hired to investigate whether one spouse is being honest about their finances during the divorce. A forensic accountant may investigate a spouse’s income, business valuation, or hidden assets and testify to the court that their findings should influence things like property division or spousal maintenance.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Divorce Lawyer
An experienced DuPage County divorce attorney can guide you through all aspects of the divorce process, including whether using an expert witness would benefit your case. The lawyers at Andrew Cores Family Law Group will work with you to help you understand your options and create a strategic approach for achieving your priorities. Call our office today for a complimentary consultation at 630-871-1002.