Using Expert Witnesses in Maintenance Cases
Is it important to hire an expert for a case involving maintenance?
Yes. One expert or more in a case can help illustrate key points in your maintenance case. Before a court can award or deny a request for maintenance, it must diligently follow the applicable Missouri statute (§452.335, RSMo.) and prior court interpretations of that law (“case law”). An expert opinion is often very helpful to the court in providing testimony and evidence the court needs to determine maintenance.
The following experts are often utilized in maintenance cases:
- Vocational Expert – they can provide assistance in assessing what a party could or should be earning in the workforce based on their education, skills, and experience. If you are seeking maintenance, they can assess how much your spouse might earn. This is very helpful if a spouse is not working or underemployed, either intentionally or not. If you are defending against a maintenance claim, a vocational expert can be helpful to a court by offering an opinion to the court as to how much the requesting party could make if they were fully employed or working outside of the home.
- Accountant – they can provide testimony regarding the value of certain assets such as closely-held business and can offer testimony regarding cash flow, maintenance, and tax consequences associated with the divorce and with the receipt of maintenance.
- Medical Experts/Psychologists – they can provide testimony regarding the requesting party’s ability to be self-supporting and if a child has a medical condition or circumstances which requires that requesting party stay at home, they can provide testimony in support of the requesting party remaining a stay-at-home parent.