The Colorado Rules of Evidence allows the trier of fact or specifically, the judge in Divorce cases, to take into consideration the testimony of Expert Witnesses. There are two (2) types of Expert Witnesses:
- Consulting Expert
- Testimonial Expert
A Consulting Expert is usually a professional who has particular specialized expertise in a field of practice, who provides a lawyer or party with information on a confidential basis. This “confidential” relationship usually means that the expert is assisting the attorney with information regarding facts or scientific theory that has relevancy to the case. The expert can review documents, statements, reports and whatever information the lawyer has for the expert to provide the lawyer with specialized assistance. In some Divorce cases, the use of a Consulting Expert is needed to allow the attorney to understand the
nature of a party’s business, accounting or financial interests and practices. These kinds of cases can quickly change course on the issue of property division when there is a business or business investment that will be involved in a divorce. A Consulting Expert can even assist a lawyer when developing a strategy in preparation for a contested hearing. This is particularly helpful when the only person with precise knowledge of the business activities of one of the parties in a divorce is going to be subject to cross examination at the hearing.
Another type of expert in Divorce cases is called, A Testimonial Expert, or an expert who has been disclosed to the opposition as a professional who will come to court and offer expert opinions relative to particular subjects within the expert’s area of expertise. In Divorce cases, these kinds of Experts usually are involved in the following areas:
- Business Valuations
- Real Estate or Property Valuations, such as appraisals
- Forensic CPA
- Parenting Professional or Qualified Parenting Mental Health Care Practitioner
- Substance or Alcohol Abuse
The hiring of an expert who is expected to provide testimony in court , requires that the party who hires such an expert, disclose various information prior to the trial or contested hearing, to the other side. The overriding importance of having these kinds of experts is to provide the court with fact and opinion testimony from a qualified professional that has relevancy to the facts in dispute.
Regardless of the type of expert that may be involved in a Divorce case, the initial concern must be whether the specific expert has the qualifications to be deemed “competent”. The expert will be required to give the court their expert opinions on the subject that is within the area of the expert’s expertise. An expert’s opinions must be deemed relevant, useful and helpful to the judge in order to have the judge allow such expert opinion testimony during the hearing. This is why it is always suggested that an experienced family law attorney be consulted and retained, because that attorney will know what kind of experts may be needed in light of the nature of the disputes for any given case and whether the particular judge involved is likely to allow the expert’s testimony to be used at the hearing. Important strategy sessions with Attorney Gordon N. Shayne will occur once Mr. Shayne is involved in a client’s case so that he can determine if there is a need for a particular expert and if so, which expert has the kinds of qualifications to assist with the client’s case.