EXPERT TESTIMONY FOR CHILD CUSTODY CASES

Render illustration of Child Custody title on Legal Documents

Every parent wants what is best for his or her children. It’s always best when parents can come to an agreement through mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods in order to craft a parenting schedule that is best suited to their child’s needs. Unfortunately, that is not always possible, and it may become necessary to take the matter to trial. When disputes are particularly acrimonious or complex, expert witnesses can help build your case.

A common type of expert witness used in a child custody case is a mental health professional for the child. These professionals can include counselors, therapists, or psychologists. In cases where the child is experiencing a high degree of anxiety, alienation, or difficulty adjusting, providing mental health support to the child can help the transition. In turn, the mental health professional can provide the court with important insight into the child’s mental state and what type of custody arrangement or visitation schedule would be in the child’s best interest.

In some cases, mental health professionals for the parents may also be necessary. When a parent’s mental health or substance abuse problems are called into question, one or both parties may request that the parents submit to a psychological assessment or drug and alcohol assessments, as is appropriate. The court is not required to order this sort of testing, and the parties will be responsible for the costs associated with the profiling.

Where a child has special needs, the child’s care givers, educational plan providers, or therapists may be essential to providing the court with a clear picture of the child’s needs. These experts can provide the court with an idea of the child’s special requirements and give an opinion on the sort of schedule that is best for a child with special needs.

A major down side to using an expert witness is the expense. Experts tend to be highly educated professionals, as the New Jersey laws have specific requirements for a person who is deemed an expert in a court of law. Experts often charge for the time they spend not only in preparing for trial but also in court. Therefore, the decision to use an expert is one that needs to be carefully weighed after consultation with your family attorney.

We have extensive experience in achieving our client’s child custody goals, both with and without experts. Contact us today at (732) 479-4711 to make an appointment to talk about your custody case and the witnesses that would help you achieve your goals.

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