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Should you use an expert in your child custody case?

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2022 | Child Custody and Visitation

Your child custody dispute probably has you on edge considering that the outcome of your case could impact your relationship with your kid as well as how much time you get to spend with him or her. With so much at stake, then, you need to be prepared to aggressively present your custody arguments. But how, exactly, do you go about doing that?

It depends in large part on the facts at hand. For example, if you worry about your child being exposed to parental substance abuse, then you might want to gather evidence that demonstrates that the other parent does, in fact, engage in drug or alcohol use. This may come from police reports, criminal history, and witness accounts.

If you want to present the strongest case possible, then you may want to consider if there is other evidence that you can present to the court outside of the normal documentary and first-hand testimonial evidence. This is where experts may prove helpful.

How an expert may be able to help your custody case

Expert testimony is oftentimes given more weight by a judge. This means that if you have an expert who can testify in your favor, then the court may be more willing to side with you. This is because expert testimony often provides the judge with a well-formed opinion that is based on sound scientific principles and specifically addresses a critical issue before the court.

An expert might help you demonstrate why you should have sole physical custody of your child or why the other parent’s visitation should be restricted in some fashion.

What kinds of experts can you use in your child custody case?

In most instances, the best expert witness that you can use is a mental health professional. These individuals can oftentimes speak to how a particular child custody arrangement will affect a child’s emotional and psychological well-being. They can reach this opinion by actually working with the child and the parents, but they may also be able to testify in generalities about how certain situations may be beneficial or detrimental to the child given the expert’s research and experience working with other clients.

There may be other expert witnesses that you can use in your case, too. For example, if the other parent’s physical and mental health is in question, then you might be able to have an expert testify as to how their issues can impact their ability to provide appropriate care for the child.

Although you may have other witnesses to testify about their observations of the other parent, the power of an expert witness is that they can render that opinion as to how the parent’s condition could affect the child’s safety and wellbeing moving forward. You might also be able to utilize an expert in parental alienation if that has been an issue in your case.

Be on the defensive, too

Even though you want to use expert witnesses in your case if you think that they’d be helpful, you should also be prepared for the other parent to have experts ready to testify in his or her favor. For this reason, it may be helpful to depose those witnesses to better determine what their testimony will constitute and how best to attack it.

Present the best case possible under the circumstances

You don’t want your custody case to turn out poorly because of a lack of preparation. That’s why as you head into your dispute, it might be best to have a legal advocate on your side who can help you gather evidence, develop a legal strategy, and persuasively argue for a custody arrangement that is best for your child.