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When Should a Doctor Testify In a Divorce Case?

The use of expert witnesses is a relatively common occurrence in divorce proceedings. Financial specialists, real estate and property experts and even healthcare professionals can help resolve issues of property division, child custody, child support and alimony (maintenance). Modifying court orders after a divorce can be difficult, which is why it’s important to get it right the first time. Here is a brief overview on why you may need a doctor to testify in your divorce case.

Child Custody

If there are allegations of physical or emotional abuse in the household, the court will often allow testimony from child psychologists, therapists and doctors. Together, these healthcare professionals can evaluate the children involved in the divorce and write out an unabridged version of their living environment. From there, they can make recommendations to the court about what would be in the best interest of the children. Expert witness testimony often carries a substantial amount of weight with the court.

Alimony (Maintenance)

When alimony (maintenance) involves a medical claim, a doctor or healthcare professional may offer important testimony. For example, let’s say one spouse attempts to impute income to another spouse, claiming that they should be working when in fact, they are not. If the non-working spouse suffers from health issues that prevent them from working, a doctor could testify on their behalf to support this claim and avoid any income being attributed to them.

Testimony

Divorcing spouses and their attorneys can get information from expert witnesses in a number of ways including but not limited to: by the expert witness appearing in court to testify; or for some expert witnesses by taking their deposition and requesting their deposition be introduced into evidence during the trial. Generally, there are some advantages to the expert appearing in court to testify instead of taking the deposition, which includes the simple fact that live testimony generally makes a better impression. However for some experts, such as doctors, they may be discharging there general duties as a doctor and may be unavailable on the day of trial to appear in court. In that event you may be able to take the doctor’s deposition before the trial date and request the court to receive the deposition into evidence during the trial.   

At Galmiche Law Firm, P.C., our St. Louis family law attorney can utilize all available resources when representing clients, including expert witnesses such as doctors. If you have any questions regarding your family law matters, call (636) 552-4841 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.