What Is an Expert Witness, and What Do They Do in an Illinois Divorce?
The vast majority of Illinois divorces are resolved without courtroom litigation. Alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation and collaborative divorce give couples the opportunity to reach an agreement about issues like property division and parenting arrangements. However, sometimes couples are engaged in intense interpersonal conflict; other times, fundamental disagreements about facts cannot be overcome so that a settlement can be reached.
Whatever the reason, a couple may find themselves litigating their divorce in court and may need to build their case before a judge. While a judge in a divorce trial will make decisions according to Illinois law, his or her decisions can be influenced by the presentation of facts according to each spouse’s attorney as supported by statements, witnesses, and other evidence. This is when an expert witness may be helpful.
What Does an Expert Witness Do in a Divorce Trial?
When spouses contest basic facts, such as the value of a property or the other spouse’s fitness as a parent, expert witnesses can act as professionals whose education, training, or experience allows them to testify in court about the issue at hand. Spouses can hire expert witnesses to support their case, or a court can appoint an expert witness. In either case, one or both spouses are generally required to pay the expert witness’s fees.
In addition to explaining their opinion on a matter, expert witnesses must establish why they are qualified to formulate a trustworthy opinion. They are subject to cross-examination by the other spouse’s lawyer, which can include questions regarding the expert witness’s conclusions, as well as their qualifications and competence.
What Can an Expert Witness Testify About?
Expert witnesses can testify about many issues and some divorces may include more than one expert witness. Some examples of expertise include:
- Child psychologists
- Custody evaluators
- Business valuation experts
- Social workers
- Employment experts
The unique circumstance of each case will determine which expert witnesses may be necessary. A skilled divorce attorney can help you build a strong case with the assistance of expert witnesses and use their connections in the professional world to make recommendations.
Call an Assertive Wheaton, IL Divorce Lawyer
If you are involved in or anticipate a contentious divorce, the attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group are prepared to help. Whether your case settles out of court or proceeds to trial using the help of expert witnesses, we can help you prepare a strong case and will work hard to obtain a divorce settlement that benefits you. Call us now at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free initial meeting with one of our experienced Wheaton divorce attorneys.