Pros and Cons of Witnesses In a Divorce Case
Divorce cases typically do not involve witnesses. The two people divorcing, with the help of their attorneys, settle issues in the majority of circumstances. Of course, there are exceptions. There are situations when a divorce attorney will decide information from a third party would be helpful.
What Types of Witnesses Are There?
There are different types of witnesses used in court cases. During the divorce process, if they are used, witnesses typically are one of the following:
- Expert witnesses
- Character witnesses
If parental responsibility is being disputed, an expert witness may be helpful from an individual who works as a clinical psychologist, counselor, or other professional who is experienced, knowledgeable and certified.
In New Jersey, Rule of Evidence 702 (N.J.R.E. 702) means plaintiffs or defendants can present a qualified expert to offer opinion testimony. The expert’s scientific and specialized knowledge can assist the judge or jury in understanding evidence or determining facts.
When custody is an issue an expert might meet with you, your spouse, and your children. These meetings could be done individually or as a group. Then, there are possibilities for a professional to share their expert opinion with the court. This could serve as a recommendation of how custody could be structured in a divorce agreement.
If this option is something you would like to pursue, discuss your situation with an experienced Bucks County family attorney. They can assess if this would be beneficial and how that expert witness will be compensated. Typically, their time and services are billable.
A character witness may be a solution that does not require additional compensation. These are individuals who can speak about the situation after years of interacting with your household. Character witnesses could be friends, childcare providers, or neighbors. Because they are known to be biased, family members do not typically make good character witnesses.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Using Witnesses?
There can be risks involved with subpoenaing witnesses. Because, the fact is, you may not be entirely sure what a witness will testify to in a court of law. That could be compounded by an attorney’s line of questioning going in a direction you did not foresee.
A knowledgeable Bucks County family attorney can help you to assess if calling a witness strengthens your side of the dispute. Because there are situations when witnesses only create further disputes within a divorce case, they may be an unproductive use of energy and resources. Witnesses can increase the expenses involved in a divorce process. An experienced lawyer can obtain documentation other ways, paths that could shorten timeframes and produce the results you are seeking.
Divorce is a time of change and there are many details to review and decide. If you are going through a divorce in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, Kardos, Rickles & Hand can help. Let our Bucks County family lawyers take care of all the technical aspects of your divorce and help you move forward with the rest of your life. Schedule your free consultation today, call 215-968-6602.