Sometimes in divorce cases, an expert is needed. Experts can bring their education, training, and experience to weigh in on certain issues critical to a divorce. Experts can include:
- Child therapists
- Forensic accountants
- Real estate experts
- Property experts
- Vocational experts
While participants sometimes express concern about spending money on experts, expert opinions can have a lasting impact on not only the divorce proceedings themselves, but also the parties’ lives in the months and years to come.
Particularly in cases where abuse or neglect has been alleged, a child therapist, psychologist, social worker, or other child specialist may be consulted. The expert typically speaks with the child, evaluates their mental health, speaks with the parents, evaluates the parents’ mental health, and reviews the child’s extended family support system. The expert then makes recommendations about parenting time and other issues related to the child’s health and wellbeing.
Forensic accountants are useful for locating hidden assets and additional income. Whether someone has an income producing stock portfolio, or makes additional income in tips or side jobs, a forensic accountant can be useful in determining this. This additional income is then included when calculating child support and alimony obligations.
Real Estate Experts
Real estate experts can offer insight about the value of real estate property. This includes the family home and vacation properties. However, it also includes determining the value of a rental property, which produces income, where one of the parties wishes to keep the rental property as part of the divorce settlement. Properly valuing the rental property then allows for the fair and equitable distribution of the other marital assets.
Property experts, in this context, are different than real estate experts. In this context, property experts evaluate the value of personal property. This might include:
- Coin collections
- Stamp collections
- Gun collections
An expert who understands the market, as well as the nature and quality of the item of value, assists the parties by assigning a value to each item. This ensures the fair and equitable distribution of property.
A vocational expert assists by providing information on one’s earning potential. Vocational experts are particularly useful when one spouse has chosen to stay home and raise the children. Determining one’s earning potential is critical when evaluating the appropriate amount of alimony and child support. As such, a vocational expert will consider such issues as what training or education may be necessary, what the job market looks like in the desired industry, and the range of wages offered in a given field.
Experts are useful for providing information to the court and to the lawyers. Child custody issues are resolved “in the child’s best interests.” Property is divided in a manner that is “fair and equitable.” Most divorces settle short of a divorce trial. By having experts provide information on the value of the assets and the needs of the child, many divorces resolve more quickly than if the parties relied simply on their own beliefs about their property’s value and their children’s needs.
If you are considering divorce, call the office of Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. Eric Cheshire has been representing people in divorce cases for over 25 years. Call for a confidential consultation at (561) 677-8090. Together we can create a plan for your family moving forward, keeping your best interests in mind.