Your Divorce Or Business Litigation Case: Why Lawyers Need An Expert Witness
By Joey N. Friedman, CPA, ABV, M.Acc, MIB
“DO YOU SOLEMNLY SWEAR THAT YOU WILL TELL THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, SO HELP YOU GOD?”
The Sworn Testimony is a powerful statement, but in reality, it holds no power over the person who verbalizes it. While we would all like to believe that truth is always told in court, this is unfortunately not the case — even if the person taking the stand intends to be honest. As the American writer Patricia Maclachlan explains, “Fact and fiction are different truths,” and humans have different moral codes and subjective perceptions of reality. This is especially true in divorce or business litigation cases where emotions run high and often cloud a person’s testimony.
To cut through the noise and get down to the facts, an expert witness is an invaluable addition to these cases. While a witness solidifies a convincing case, a forensic accounting expert witness cements it. Most attorneys know the law, but they are not familiar with financial statements, math, accounting knowledge, and financial information. Investing in an expert witness frees up attorneys to deal with the law and helps them figure out the case’s financial end based on concrete facts.
Only with expert witnesses is a sense of objectivity and credibility provided and seamlessly integrated within a legal team, strengthening
the case overall. Important to all divorce and litigation cases, expert witnesses help attorneys and jurors understand nuanced and complex in-
formation while grounding opinions into specialized knowledge. When combined with background information, scientific principle, and contextual understanding, this plays well with juries.
Often, an expert witness can also identify additional elements of a case that need to be considered. One of my clients, for example, went to
court to recover the damages from another driver who had collided with one of his company vehicles. I determined that the damage’s value
included more than just the repairs and income loss from the unusable vehicle. There was also a logo on the side of the vehicle, so my client had
lost advertising value.
Even when an expert witness states an opinion, it is connected to general principles and is not considered a personal perspective. Sound explanations back these opinions in accordance with a relevant field. By building a bridge between perspective and the jurors’ “real world,” a powerful, persuasive testimony becomes rooted in objective reality. Misunderstood issues are understood by exploring the issue in different expert domains.
For example, in a divorce case, when a couple finds themselves battling it out for equal financial gain and a fair share of an individual’s business, a forensic accounting expert witness is needed to establish the business’ precise worth. Often, the couple and their attorneys will
present a biased case. However, an expert witness will solidify the facts and present the financial information in a non-biased way.
As expert witnesses, we are educated in a specialty area, and we can take what is presented by the lawyer and build on it. We consult the documents and relevant academic or industry literature and objectively interpret the facts and develop an analysis of the liability to base the testimony. An expert witness working with an attorney is a powerful combination.
Numbers are not biased, nor is the expert accountant’s opinion. With these cases, it’s evident that you can’t divorce the importance of an
expert witness and a favorable case outcome.
Joey Friedman, CPA, ABV, MAcc, MIB, is an expert witness for divorce and business litigation cases. He delivers reports, opinions, and testimony about business valuations or damage valuations for his clients and attorneys to present in their cases.
Direct Line: 954-290-5657
1 SW 129th Ave, Suite 408
Pembroke Pines, FL 33027