3 Powerful Kinds of Expert to Persuade the Family Court Judge You’re Right
Written by: Megan Dell
Family Court cases provide the opportunity for a judge to decide how much time you are able to spend with your children, where you can live, and how much support you should receive or be able to pay. Sometimes, offering the opinion of an expert, which is allowed under Rule 702, SCRE, may persuade a Family Court judge to agree with your perspective of the evidence.
Here are some common experts seen in South Carolina Family Court cases:
A forensic accountant uses accounting and analytical skills to investigate financial transactions of a person or business.
In South Carolina divorce cases, a forensic accountant might be hired to determine the value of a divorcing couple’s assets and debts, the parties’ historical earnings and/or spending habits, and explain any tax implications for division of the estate or payment of support.
A forensic accountant is not necessary for every divorce case, but if your case involves ownership of a business (or one party being self-employed), assets worth more than $1million, or combined earnings of at least $300,000 per year, it may be wise to consult a forensic accountant before making decisions about how to resolve your case.
Forensic Psychologist or Evaluator
In South Carolina Family Court, forensic psychologists are frequently used to determine whether any individual involved in a custody case may have psychiatric, mental health, or psychological disorders that could affect the best interests of the children.
Forensic evaluators are sometimes appointed by the Family Court to conduct an evaluation of one or more parties in the case once a concern is raised about their fitness to parent the child.
Evaluation by a forensic psychologist is not necessary in every case, but should be considered in cases involving allegations of abuse (physical, emotional, and/or sexual), substance dependence, problems managing anger or other emotions, or intentional interference in the relationship with the child.
Forensic evaluators will use a combination of techniques, including review of written documents, interviews with relevant people, empirically based research, actuarial instruments, and objective psychological tests, to form their conclusions.
Vocational or Occupational Expert
A vocational expert is an expert witness who knows about job availability in the current labor market, as well as the skills that are needed to perform specific jobs and the present range of wages for the positions.
Vocational experts are most commonly used in Family Court cases in which one party claims he or she is unable to work due a disability or long-time absence from the workforce. The expert can review the person’s educational and employment background to identify possible employment opportunities and earning potential.
Lawyers Have Experience Hiring an Expert
An experienced Family Court lawyer can help identify whether hiring a forensic accountant, forensic psychologist, or vocational expert may provide some benefit to your case. It is also likely they have hired such experts before and know which experts are most respected by the Family Court, which can help you win your case.