Expert Testimony in Child Custody Matters
The primary concern of a Texas court handling a custody dispute is what is in the best interest of the child. While co-parents generally agree that the courts should develop an arrangement that will benefit their children, they often have different opinions about what that means in the context of shared custody. As such, it may aid a party in a custody action to hire experts to testify on their behalf to provide critical insight that will help the courts determine what is in the child’s best interest. If you are involved in a custody dispute, it is smart to meet with an attorney to discuss what measures you can take to protect your parental rights. The assertive Dallas child custody lawyers of McClure Law Group can assess the facts of your case and develop a strategy that will help you seek the best legal result available.Custody Evaluators
The Texas courts will often rely on custody evaluators to determine what rights parties should have in custody cases. Pursuant to the Texas Family Code (the “Code”), a court may order an evaluation on the condition and circumstances of the child, any party to their suit, the residence of any person seeking custody rights, and any other issue related to a custody suit. A child-custody evaluator must be neutral, which means they cannot have a conflict of interest or relationship with any party or harbor any bias. Generally, they must also have certain qualifications. Among other things, they need to have a master’s degree in human services or a related field and a license to practice as a social worker, psychologist, doctor, family therapist, or professional counselor.Psychologist Expert Testimony in Child-Custody Matters
Parties may also retain their own experts to support their position regarding certain issues relevant to the case. The Code provides, however, that a party may not offer a recommendation to the court or expert opinion on the issue of conservatorship or possession of or access to the child unless they have conducted a child-custody evaluation. In a contested custody suit, however, a psychologist or other mental-health professional may offer expert opinions on other pertinent matters that relate to any party they have personally evaluated. For example, they may testify regarding a party’s or child’s mental health, but may not opine as to whether such status should impact the award of custody rights.Financial Expert Testimony in Child-Custody Matters
In custody matters that also involve child-support claims, it may be necessary to retain a financial expert, as well. For example, if one party whose income is at issue for child-support purposes is underemployed or unemployed, the courts may use their imputed income, or what they reasonably could earn, to determine support obligations. In such instances, a financial expert can provide testimony regarding the party’s earning potential, given their education, employment history, skill set, and place of residence.Talk to a Trusted Dallas Attorney
Parties in custody cases can offer the court any evidence that will be relevant to the determination of what is in the child’s best interest, which in many instances includes expert testimony. If you have questions about how you can protect your parental rights in a custody matter, it is advisable to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. The trusted Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group are adept at handling the legal and emotional challenges that come with custody cases, and if you hire us, we will collect the evidence needed to provide you with a good chance of achieving your desired result. Our main office is in Dallas, and we are able to meet clients for consultations at our Collin-County office in Plano. We regularly represent people in custody cases in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Frisco, Irving, McKinney, Richardson, and Garland. We also help people with family-law matters in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can reach us by calling 214.692.8200 or using our form online to set up a confidential conference.