By: Lisa Marie Vari
In many Pennsylvania family law cases attorneys use experts for help with specific issues. This is typically seen in custody and relocation cases with experts testifying about psychological and other mental aspects of the individuals involved. In these cases the experts are typically psychologists, psychiatrists, or clinical social workers. In cases where domestic violence is an issue, medical experts can be called upon as well. To learn more about experts, continue reading today’s blog by your Pennsylvania family lawyers.
In Pennsylvania, the standard rules of evidence apply to the use of expert testimony in hearings. The Pennsylvania rule is rule 702 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence. The rule requires the expert show that they are fully knowledgeable, have the requisite skill and experience as well as the education and training necessary to qualify their testimony as expert. This rule also requires that the expert’s testimony assist the trier of fact in resolving the case.
This standard requires the side who wishes to employ an expert to find a specific expert who can testify to the specific nuances of a given case. Other case law has specified that their must be a scientific connection to the expert’s testimony. This can sometimes be an issue in family law cases, however it typically doesn’t present as a significant hurdle.
Overall, the use of an expert in a Pennsylvania custody or relocation case can be very helpful. For example, if you are planning to file a petition for relocation, a psychologist can testify to show the benefits to your child from moving. This also works in the reverse situation. Expert testimony can be very expensive, so it is important to understand the worth of such testimony to your case.
If you are dealing with a custody or relocation dispute and need guidance in determining whether you need an expert witness or not, please contact our Western Pennsylvania family law office today!