Generally speaking, there are two types of witnesses: character and expert.
Character witnesses are individuals who can speak to someone’s moral character. Friends, neighbors and teachers can all provide valuable insight into a person’s:
- Relationship with their children
- Work ethic
This information can shed light on a range of issues, from who is to blame for a divorce to how a person acts when they are not in a legal setting.
Family law expert witnesses include people who have knowledge, skills, training or experience in a specific area relevant to these matters. Often, expert witnesses are:
- Child custody professionals
- Forensic accountants
- Real estate brokers
- Social workers
Expert witness testimony can give fact-based, educated opinions on matters ranging from what a preferred custody arrangement should look like to whether someone is hiding marital assets. They typically have skills in understanding complicated issues and explaining them so others can more easily understand them.
UTILIZING WITNESSES WISELY
Witnesses are not necessary for every family legal dispute. However, they can prove to be essential in cases involving highly contentious parents or sophisticated financial assets.
And some witnesses are more effective than others. For instance, the testimony of a family member you are close to typically will not carry as much legal weight as a teacher, accountant or another neutral party.
Thus, it can be wise to consult your attorney to discuss whether witnesses are necessary and how to approach these parties and respond to their statements.
Whether witnesses play a role in your divorce or not, securing fair outcomes can require a balance of pragmatism and creativity. Knowing what tools are available and how to utilize them can help parties strike this balance effectively.