Expert Witnesses in Texas Divorce and Custody Cases

If you are facing a divorce or child custody case in Texas, you might hear about expert witnesses. Expert witnesses are professionals who offer specialized knowledge to help the court understand specific aspects of your case. These experts can greatly influence the outcome, which is why understanding their role and the disclosure rules surrounding them is crucial. In this article, we’ll simplify these legal procedures for you.

What is Expert Disclosure?

According to Rule 192.3(e) of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, both sides in a case must identify any expert witnesses they plan to call. This rule aims to make the legal process fair by preventing any party from being surprised by an unknown expert during the trial.

For each expert, the parties should disclose:

  1. The expert’s name, address, and telephone number.
  2. The subject matter the expert will testify about.
  3. The expert’s mental impressions and opinions and a summary of the reasons for them.

This rule ensures transparency and gives everyone a fair chance to prepare for what these experts might say.

When Can You Request Disclosure?

Under Rule 194.2(f) of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, any party may ask for the details about potential expert witnesses. This request can include information about the expert’s qualifications, compensation, and any potential bias.

In a divorce or child custody case, these expert witnesses could be professionals who have insights about the child’s best interest, mental health assessments of the parties involved, or the value of assets to be divided.

What Are the Bases for an Expert’s Opinion?

Texas Rule of Evidence 703 explains that experts can form their opinions based on facts or data they’ve been made aware of or observed. Even if these facts or data aren’t typically admissible in court, they can be used by experts if they are widely accepted in their field of expertise.

However, these facts or data should only be shared with the jury if they help the jury evaluate the expert’s opinion more than they prejudice it.

What About Consulting Witnesses?

Consulting witnesses are experts who help in preparing a case but aren’t expected to testify in court. Rule 192.3(e)(3) of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure protects the identities, mental impressions, and opinions of consulting witnesses unless a testifying expert has reviewed them.

Conclusion

The rules surrounding expert and consulting witnesses in Texas aim to make the legal process fair and transparent. By understanding these rules, you can better navigate your divorce or child custody case.

To discuss retaining our firm for your divorce or child custody case, please schedule a consultation with us today.