Division of the marital estate can be one of the most complex parts of a divorce. Each party is entitled to his or her share of all marital assets and debts, as Washington is a community property state. Complications often arise, unfortunately, when attempting to place an accurate value on certain assets. An expert witness can help with ascertaining the correct value and making a recommendation to the court as to how to divide the particular asset.
Real estate is very often one of the highest value assets involved in a divorce. Parties will often dispute the value of a home or other piece of land. In these types of disagreements, using the services of a property appraiser may provide the answer. The appraiser can testify at trial to the reasonable value of the home, which will in turn provide the court with the amount of equity that needs to be divided between the parties. This type of testimony can be compelling, as a court will likely place more confidence in the equity appraisal of an expert rather than the parties simply testifying to what they believe is fair.
Family businesses are another area that will often require some type of expert testimony, unless the parties can agree on the value of the business. Not only can a business appraiser explain the value of any real estate owned by the business, but also the value of the fixtures, equipment, and inventory. Businesses are especially complicated because a small business will often rely at least in part on its reputation in the community, which is a subjective factor.
Finally, if one party owned the business before the marriage began, but the other party contributed to the increase in value of the business during the marriage, an expert may be able to provide essential insight to the amount of value added to the business by that party.
Tax experts may also be required in your case. These types of experts are used to provide testimony about tax ramifications of property distributions or alimony awards. If a proposed property division will have large adverse tax consequences to one party, it may be worth it to have the tax expert testify at trial about why such a distribution is unfair.
These are just a few examples of the types of expert witnesses that may be required in a divorce case. If you are facing divorce, contact us today. Our team has extensive experience in divorce cases and decisions regarding expert witnesses. Call us today at (253) 272-9459 to discuss your divorce and your future.