Despite the impression you may get from dramatic courtroom scenes played out in movies or even the multiple cable channels covering real-life trials, expert witnesses are not just for high-profile or incredibly sophisticated cases.
In fact, the skillful use of an expert witness in divorce may actually lower the risk of courtroom drama…or eliminate it altogether.
For the self-employed, an expert witness can provide essential information to secure a fair result in maintenance disputes, especially where the opposing spouse wants to make assumptions about your income.
An expert witness can provide testimony about certain taxes, expenses, and other financial outlays that are necessary to run your business and which might significantly reduce the amount of income you actually draw from your enterprise.
Does your spouse contend that you are “sandbagging” your business, in other words, purposely under-earning in order to reduce or avoid maintenance? An expert witness might be able to provide facts and statistics to show that your business can only be expected to yield “so much” revenue.
Expert witnesses can be found within just about any industry. In some instances, accountants or auditors can provide expert testimony about the financial dimensions of several types of businesses and professions.
It is important to understand that expert witnesses must pass scrutiny with the judge in front of whom they will be providing testimony. In other words, the judge must agree that the particular witness you’ve engaged does qualify as an expert. Without this agreement, the expert’s testimony may not be used.
Accordingly, it is vital to the success of your case that you partner with a men’s divorce attorney who is adept at the use of experts and the admission of expert testimony. Don’t allow false assumptions and prejudices about the self-employed to play a role in your future maintenance obligations – if any.
Yale L. Hollander is the executive editor of Men’s Divorce where he actively develops and curates content of interest to men dealing with issues related to divorce. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Missouri at Columbia and a juris doctor degree from Oklahoma City University. He has been licensed to practice law in the states of Georgia, Missouri and North Carolina.
In addition to his editorial duties, he also oversees practice quality and attorney development for the law firm Cordell & Cordell, maintaining an integral role in promoting the firm’s high standards for all facets of legal services. Prior to joining Cordell & Cordell, he spent several years in active litigation practice, law firm management and legal compliance consulting.
His articles have appeared in a number of legal and trade publications and he was also a weekly columnist for the St. Louis Globe Democrat. He is the married father of two daughters.