A financial professional can fill two distinct roles in family law cases. He or she can be a consultant who provides analysis and opinions privately to the attorney and client. The consulting expert’s work and conclusions are not intended to be presented in court, and are intended to be of an advisory nature. The other role is that of a testifying expert, alternately called an expert witness. The testifying expert must be disclosed in the event that the case goes to trial.
The services of a consulting expert may include:
- Explaining financial topics to the attorney and client
- Providing opinions and advice on financial matters, including the value of assets and liabilities, the taxability of settlement scenarios, and the strengths and weaknesses of the financial portion of the case
- Helping to develop a litigation strategy
- Devising a strategy for presenting financial issues to the court
- Evaluating a testifying expert’s work as a “second set of eyes,” which may help identify weaknesses or opportunities in the testifying expert’s work
- Scrutinizing the work of a financial neutral appointed in the divorce