In a Georgia divorce matter, as in any civil matter, either party may call expert witnesses to testify on that party’s behalf. See generally §O.C.G.A. 24-6-66. Although each party may call expert witnesses to testify on his or her behalf, prior to the testimony of any purported expert, the party wishing to call the expert as a witness must lay the proper foundation proving the expert’s credentials. Id. In other words, it must be shown that the testimony of the expert will help the jury or the judge hearing the matter understand a certain topic or concept that the average person would not fully understand without expert explanation. O.C.G.A. §§ 24-7-702 and 24-7-703.
With this being said, there are several topics on which a party may need the assistance of an expert such as child custody, business evaluation, and forensic accounting. A spouse going through the divorce process may seek to engage the services of an expert in any one of these fields, not only for the purposes of testimony at trial, but also to aid the spouse and his or her attorney in understanding complex issues surrounding the particular case. However, just as attorneys charge fees for these services, experts charge for their service as well. Normally, experts charge a certain rate for any services they render prior to trial. For example a review of business records to compile an evaluation will be one fee and testimony at trial will be another fee. For a more detailed discussion on the differing types of experts that may be utilized in the divorce process and the costs normally associated with these experts, see the remaining articles in this section.