Neutral Experts in Collaborative Divorce

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In traditional litigation, it’s often the war of the competing experts. Whether the issues in the case are financial or custody related, both sides often enlist their own experts.

At trial, this can make it more lengthy and more contested. It can cost the parties a great deal in legal costs. The judge also has to determine whose opinions and methodologies are more credible after hearing their testimony and reviewing their reports.

In some cases, a business valuation might be the source of the dispute. It could be a real estate valuation regarding residential or commercial property. In a custody case, it could be competing custody evaluations. The possibilities are infinite in divorce and family law matters.

However, in a collaborative divorce, the experts (known as a financial neutral or child custody professional) are neutral. Instead of being hired by one party, both parties hire the expert. Not only can this cut down on the costs of the case, but it can make the case less adversarial.

In financial situations, for example, courts can be used to seeing the ”lowball” and ”highball” analysis. Take the real estate appraisal or business valuation example. Experts often come in with widely disparate opinions. Often, the court ends up splitting the difference and coming down the middle.

When a neutral evaluation takes place, they can sometimes avoid this scenario by having a reasonable evaluation take place in the first place because they are not working for either party. Instead, they are hired to assist both parties. This can give them the ability to talk to both parties and get their perspectives.

A neutral expert can help parties reach a settlement more efficiently than if the case turns into a duel between the competing experts. Neutral experts are a vital aspect of collaborative practice that can make it appealing to many.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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