Depending on the issues in your marriage, your divorce may involve professional input from a wide range of experts, including accountants, mediators and child therapists. Our reliance on these individuals is based on their extensive education and experience, the same as we would trust professionals such as doctors and engineers. Like medicine and structural design, the legal system is full of intricacies and complications, especially in the field of family law.
While most couples want to avoid litigation, they generally need the services a mediator or collaborative divorce attorney, who can help them discuss and resolve the issues in their divorce. These professionals, however, may not have the ability to derive calculations for complex assets such as retirement accounts, joint businesses and investment portfolios. Although it's an additional expense, most couples agree to have their assets reviewed by a financial expert to ensure a fair and neutral valuation. Psychological and medical experts may be needed as well, if there are sensitive custody issues such as accusations of bad parenting, or one parent wanting to move out of state. Therapists are often associated with court cases, but an expert's opinion can be reassuring for parents who are wondering if they're doing the right thing for their children.
As important as they are, the expert's role in a divorce is rather limited. Their main function is to provide fair, unbiased assessments based on scientific and/or professional standards. Many of the standards and calculations that they use are undeniably complicated, but an experienced professional should be able to explain things to you in a clear and rational manner. If an expert seems to have trouble explaining his or her methods, or gets frustrated with your questions and concerns, you should think twice about accepting his or her analysis. It's never a bad idea to obtain a second opinion, or to have the expert's recommendations reviewed by your attorney.
Keep in mind that an experienced divorce attorney would have seen many variations of divorce-related documents such as mediation agreements and fair market valuations. They would be able to spot suspicious calculations, illegal/ unethical methodologies and various other red flags that you may miss. On the other hand, if your attorney determines the calculations to be fair and sound based on the available information, you have the reassurance of knowing that you were properly advised. Your attorney can also assist you with finding another expert in your local area, should you want a second opinion.
Going with your gut instinct is important, but it's easy to get overwhelmed by emotions such as fear, anger and sadness. An experienced divorce attorney can help you make rational, balanced decisions that are in the best interests of you and your family. They can also assist you in finding qualified professionals who will give you reliable feedback, based on sound professional practices. For more information on your divorce rights and legal options, please speak with the attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C.