Divorce cases have incredibly high stakes. All of the assets that were earned or acquired during the marriage are up for division between you and your spouse. This includes businesses, savings, investments, retirement assets, and your home. Alimony may have to be paid by one spouse to the other.
If you have children, how you will share parental responsibility is going to be decided, as well as who will pay child support and in what amount. Since the decisions in divorce will touch nearly every aspect of your life and have tremendous implications for your future, it is important to use experts to make sure you present the best case possible.
Value of Experts
Using experts during your divorce will incur a cost, but that cost is almost always more than made up for by the benefit that their expertise provides. A skilled divorce attorney will likely give you an edge and may mean you win your case. A child and family investigator may ensure you receive more time with your children. A forensic accountant may result in you receiving a larger distribution of assets. Your attorney can advise you if your case warrants the use of an expert.
The very first expert you need is a divorce attorney. All attorneys earn the same degree and receive a law license, but not all attorneys have the same experience, skills, and focus. If you needed a heart bypass surgery, you would not ask your family doctor to do it. You would find a cardiac surgeon with years of experience and success performing the surgery you need. The same holds true for your divorce case. To get the best outcome, you want to find an attorney who spends most of their time working on divorce cases like yours and has done so for many years.
Aside from custody, divorce cases are primarily about money. The entire case hinges on finding all the money, determining what the assets are worth, and then determining which spouse gets what. While your attorney is experienced in the financial aspects of your divorce, when there is a business, retirement assets, or other complex assets, a forensic accountant is worth the cost.
Forensic accountants are also important when you are concerned that your spouse is hiding assets or spending assets in a wasteful way. These professionals have a degree in accounting and experience uncovering concealed funds and assets and ensuring the full value of each asset is fully presented to the court. The more assets that are included as marital property, the more you will receive.
Any time there is a business that was created during the marriage (which makes it a marital asset) or a business that began before the marriage, but which has significantly grown in value during the marriage, it is key to get a professional business evaluator to determine a fair value for that business. This is important if your spouse runs the business because they may be trying to downplay its value. The expert will find the true value so you can receive more of that value in your distribution. If you are the spouse who runs the business, you will need a valuation to counter the high valuation your spouse’s legal team will obtain.
A vocational evaluator assesses a person’s workplace skills and experience and determines what they should be earning in the current market. This type of expert is very useful if your spouse takes a lower paying job to try to reduce the amount of alimony or child support they may have to pay. The evaluator can prove what type of salary they should be earning so you can get the support payments you deserve.
There are two types of evaluators used in custody cases in Colorado. A child and family investigator (CFI) charges a flat fee in most situations. This type of expert is usually an attorney or mental health professional who prepares a report based on meeting both parents, seeing the parents interact with the child, and talking with relevant witnesses. This type of expert is useful in nearly all custody cases. They provide a neutral third party evaluation of the family situation and what would be in the child’s best interests. The judge in your case will give a lot of weight to the CFI report, and this can be determinative when it comes to custody.
A parental responsibility evaluator (PRE) is another type of custody expert. A PRE must be a mental health or social services expert. The PRE performs a more in-depth evaluation which usually includes psychological testing. The PRE can consult with physicians, mental health experts, and educators who are involved with the family and delve into medical and school records. This type of expert is necessary in a case in which there are serious allegations of child abuse or neglect, mental illness, or extreme personality defects. When there are severe concerns regarding the other parent’s parenting abilities or the child’s safety, a PRE is worth the cost.
Experts can provide a distinct advantage in a divorce case and help you obtain the outcome you desire. Your first step to achieving your goals is finding a divorce attorney you can rely on. Burnham Law divorce attorneys are seasoned professionals with years of experience handling divorce cases like yours. Call us today at 303-990-5308 to get started.