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Should I Hire Experts in My North Carolina Divorce Case?

Posted by Jonathan Jerkins | Nov 06, 2018 | 0 Comments

Most divorces are standard, with one or both spouses working outside the home, earning a paycheck, and regularly contributing to retirement accounts. The process becomes more complicated when the couple has acquired substantial assets during their marriage, owns a business, or has children. So, should you hire experts in your North Carolina divorce case?

The answer is: yes, when necessary. The most important expert you hire is your attorney. Other professionals can also provide invaluable testimony in your favor of your North Carolina divorce case. Here are a few experts that can assist with your case.

Property Appraiser

When a divorcing couple owns real property, a property appraiser can determine its fair market value. This provides accurate information to the court so it can determine an equitable division. The property appraiser searches public record for recent property sales in the area and then compiles a report using the property's square footage and amenities to calculate its value.

If your spouse also hires a property appraiser and the two appraisals have different valuations, your expert can tell the court why the other appraiser's opinion is different.

Certified Public Accountant

A certified public accountant (CPA) compiles your finances so that you have a clear idea of what marital assets you will discuss in court during the divorce. Selling or transferring assets after a divorce has tax consequences, and a CPA can help you understand what you may have to pay with each option.

Retirement Plan Expert

Pension plans and 401(k) accounts have significant value. North Carolina is an equitable distribution state, which means that all marital property is subject to an equitable split, including some retirement accounts. Retirement accounts may be part marital property and part separate property, depending on several factors. A retirement plan expert evaluates accounts by preparing information for the court on the type of plan, increase in value during the marriage, years of employment before and during the marriage, and the plan owner's first possible retirement date.

Forensic Accountant

A forensic accountant audits and investigates finances by:

  • Searching for hidden assets or income
  • Searching for financial inconsistencies
  • Determining if property is separate or marital
  • Performing business valuation
  • Calculating cash flow for support payments, and
  • Providing information about the tax consequences of proposed legal actions.

Hiring a forensic accountant is especially important if you believe your spouse is hiding assets. You may also use one if you or spouse own businesses or have complex financial situations.

Child Custody Evaluator

Child custody is a volatile issue in divorce cases. A child custody evaluator is a mental health professional who meets with the children and both parents individually and then observes interactions between parents and children to help the court determine a custody and visitation arrangement that best benefits the children. The court may order psychological testing in some cases as part of the custody evaluation. Using a child custody evaluator is appropriate when the divorcing couple cannot agree on a custody arrangement.

Retaining a Resourceful Divorce Lawyer in Raleigh NC

As experienced attorneys, we have a network of experts we work with. If you have questions about the divorce process in North Carolina or are ready to file, contact Jerkins Family Law today. Our dedicated attorneys can help you through this difficult process and work with expert witnesses to build the strongest case on your behalf. Contact us today.

About the Author

Jonathan Jerkins

Jonathan "Jay" Jerkins, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, intentionally focuses his practice on all aspects of North Carolina family law litigation and negotiations. Jay was admitted to the practice of law in North Carolina in 2014.

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