Black’s Law Dictionary defines expert as: one who is knowledgable in a specialized field, that knowledge being obtained from either education or personal experience.” Black’s Law Dictionary 578 (6th ed. 1990). In domestic relations cases, an expert may be appointed by the Court, agreed upon by the parties, or hired by an individual party to provide information to the Court on a specific matter. Depending on the circumstances and details of your case, there are many different types of experts that might be useful. Below are some of the most frequent experts we come across in the domestic relations field.
– Appraiser: evaluates a residence or property and provides what they believe is the fair market value of that residence or property
– Business Evaluator: conducts an evaluation of a business in order to provide a value figure for the business or determine what a business is worth, and potentially provide a monetary figure for one individual’s interest in the business. Business valuations can be very in depth and detailed or can be very restricted in their scope, depending on the information needed and the amount of funds available for the valuation.
– Child and Family Investigator (CFI): a neutral third party who conducts a brief investigation and provides a recommendation to the Court and parties regarding specific issues. A CFI is used only for matters concerning minor children. The total fees a private CFI can charge for their investigation has been capped by the Colorado legislature at $2,000.00, though exceptions exist which would allow for additional fees.
– Parental Responsibility Evaluator: similar to a CFI but able to conduct a more in depth investigation on a much broader scope. A PRE must be a licensed mental health professional, and there is no fee cap.
– Vocational Assessor: completes an analysis of a party’s ability to obtain a job based on their work history, education, skills, credentials and the current job market. This expert may also provide a wage analysis, or what the party has the ability to make, after reviewing their skill set and the current job market, among other items.
As always, for more information on any of the experts discussed above contact a licensed attorney in you area.