3. Engagement of Experts

In many instances, it is practically impossible to settle or litigate a family law case without the assistance of experts. If your case warrants the engagement of an expert, your attorney may advise you to do so. When financial issues are at stake, your attorney may advise you to hire a Certified Public Accountant with expertise in the family law setting. Accountants are generally used in the family law area to value businesses and professional practices, to ascertain and determine incomes and cash flows, to trace property and investments, to give tax advice, and to otherwise assist with the financial aspects of the case. Where there is a dispute as to property values, your attorney may advise you that real estate appraisers and personal property appraisers be hired to appraise the real estate and personal property that will be at issue in the case. Again, most attorneys prefer to hire appraisers who have experience in the Family Court and whose opinion is respected by the Family Court Judges. The case law governing family law matters, requires that competent evidence be presented to the Court — and in the absence of adequate proof from you, the Family Court Judge is at liberty to accept the values put forth by your adversary (which most likely will not be to your benefit). When serious issues of child custody or visitation are in contest, your attorney may recommend that an experienced clinical psychologist be hired to evaluate the family and to assist in making the child custody and visitation decisions. Your attorney may also recommend using clinical psychologist to work through custody and visitation problems, which may defuse the contested nature of those issues. Any fees or costs involved in using experts are usually handled directly between you and the expert.