How the Maryland Court of Appeals’ Ruling in a Lead Paint Case May Have a Big Impact on Your Divorce Litigation

Most contested divorces are fact-intensive. They revolve around who did or didn’t do something, when a spouse purchased an asset (and what assets were used to make that purchase,) the amount of money a spouse did or did not earn, and so forth. However, issues of law can also impact your divorce case, and a substantial change in the law can significantly influence how your divorce case is litigated. That’s one of the many places where having an experienced and diligent Maryland divorce attorney can benefit you, as your legal advocate will be up on the new laws and what you’ll need to succeed.

One of the bigger changes in Maryland law in 2020 was not something specific to divorce law. Maryland’s highest court, in a ruling related to a personal injury case about lead paint exposure, announced that Maryland was adopting a new standard for deciding whether or not expert testimony is admissible. That standard, called the Daubert standard (based upon the 1993 U.S. Supreme Court case of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals) lays out several criteria a judge should use to decide whether an expert’s evidence should be admitted or excluded.

At this point, you may find yourself thinking, what does this have to do with my divorce case? Aren’t experts usually just a part of criminal cases, malpractice cases and personal injury lawsuits?

Actually, no. There are actually several scenarios where the right expert witness can provide you with an important benefit in your divorce case.

Ways different experts can strengthen your divorce case

For example, say your spouse is a small business owner. Your spouse may have done some “creative” accounting to make his/her business look like it is worth much less than it actually is. An expert forensic accountant may be able to review the business’ books and determine a more accurate (and higher) value for the business, and then provide compelling testimony as to how he/she arrived at that conclusion.

An expert accountant can also provide very helpful testimony about the present-day value of retirement accounts or other assets. Furthermore, an expert accountant can trace the sources of the assets used to make a purchase during the marriage. That evidence can be essential when you’re seeking to win an argument about whether a particular purchased asset was marital or non-marital.

Accountants are not the only experts who may help firm up your divorce case. A real estate appraiser may be able to offer helpful expert opinion evidence about the true value of your marital home or other real estate properties you and your spouse own.

There may also be a need for a medical expert. Say, for example, your spouse argues – as part of his/her claim for alimony – that he/she cannot work due to a back or neck problem. In that scenario, an expert (such as a doctor of orthopedic medicine) may be able to shed important light on why your spouse’s assertions are not accurate, and your spouse is actually able to support him/herself, at least partially.

Every divorce case is different, and the evidence every divorcing spouse needs for a successful outcome is different. Sometimes, presenting your strongest possible case means including expert evidence. Whether or not your case needs an expert or experts, what it definitely needs is a legal advocate who is experienced and completely up to date on property distribution matters and other aspects of the law. Count on the skilled Maryland divorce attorneys at Anthony A. Fatemi, LLC to provide that sort of powerful and effective legal representation in your case. To learn more about how we can assist you, contact us at 301-519-2801 or via our online form.

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