Skip to Content
Call to Setup a Consultation 215-515-9901

Types of Witnesses in Family Law Cases

family law

Family law matters, from divorce and child custody to spousal support, are often emotionally charged and complex. In cases where these matters go to court, witnesses can play a key role in helping either party to establish

Character Witnesses

A character witness is a person who testifies in court to vouch for the moral and ethical qualities of an individual involved in a legal case. In the context of family law cases, these witnesses can play a significant role by providing insight into a person's behavior, values, and personal attributes, which can be crucial in cases like divorce, child custody, or adoption proceedings.

For instance, consider a situation where there's a dispute over child custody. One parent may have been accused of being unfit for custody due to alleged irresponsible behavior. A character witness in this scenario could be someone who knows the accused parent well - perhaps a long-term friend, a coworker, or a relative. This witness could testify about the parent's dedication, love for their children, and their responsible nature, thus challenging the allegations made against them.

In essence, a character witness helps paint a broader and more nuanced picture of a person's character for the court. Their testimony can often provide context and detail that documents and factual evidence alone may not offer. In family law cases, where personal and emotional factors are deeply entwined with legal considerations, the role of a character witness can be pivotal in influencing the final outcome.

Can a Family Member Be a Character Witness?

Yes, a family member can act as a character witness. However, the court often views them as the weakest kind of character witness because they are so often expected to take the side of the party they are related to (no matter what).

Other people who may act as stronger character witnesses include:

  • Friends of the family
  • Parents of your child’s friends
  • Doctors, dentists, therapists, and other healthcare providers
  • Teachers, coaches, and other childcare providers
  • Church/religious leaders


Also referred to as a lay witness, an eyewitness is an individual who has personally witnessed an event or situation and can provide firsthand testimony about what they saw or experienced. In the context of family law cases, an eyewitness can play a crucial role in providing essential evidence and corroboration for events that have taken place within the family dynamic.

Their testimony can be instrumental in validating the claims of one party over another, shedding light on otherwise contested or ambiguous situations, and ultimately influencing court decisions. For instance, in cases involving domestic abuse within a marriage, an eyewitness could be someone who directly witnessed the abusive behavior, such as a neighbor who heard the altercation next door or a family member who saw the aftermath of the abuse.

Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses are individuals with specialized knowledge, training, or experience in a particular field relevant to the case. Their role is to provide the court with their professional opinion on specific matters within their expertise.

Expert witnesses serve as impartial professionals who can offer valuable insights and analysis that may be beyond the scope of the court's understanding. Their testimony can help clarify complex issues, provide context to evidence, and educate the court on technical or specialized subjects.

Examples of Expert Witnesses in Family Law Cases

Some of the experts that can be invaluable for your case include:

  • Forensic accountants specialize in investigating financial matters and are often engaged in cases involving complex financial assets, income determination, and uncovering hidden or undisclosed assets. In divorce cases, forensic accountants can assist in tracing and valuing marital assets, analyzing income and expenses, and identifying potential financial discrepancies. Their work is instrumental in ensuring fair and equitable distribution of assets and determining child support or alimony payments. Forensic accountants can also provide assistance in financial discovery, asset tracing, business valuation, lifestyle analysis, and evaluating tax implications related to financial settlements.
  • Psychological experts, such as forensic psychologists or psychiatrists, provide insights into mental health, family dynamics, and the impact of family circumstances on children. In cases involving child custody, visitation rights, or allegations of domestic abuse, psychological experts can assess the well-being of children, evaluate parental fitness, and provide recommendations for custody arrangements that prioritize the child's best interests. Psychological experts can contribute to child custody evaluations, parenting capacity assessments, assessing the impact of parental substance abuse on children, and providing therapy recommendations for families.
  • Business valuation experts are skilled in determining the value of businesses, professional practices, and other complex assets. In cases where businesses or professional practices are part of the marital estate, business valuation experts play a critical role in accurately assessing the value of these assets for equitable distribution purposes. They can assist in valuing closely-held businesses and professional practices, determining the goodwill value, and assessing the financial impact of business interests on marital property division.

Other Relevant Specialists

In addition to the aforementioned types of expert witnesses, family law cases may also involve other relevant specialists, such as real estate appraisers, vocational experts, medical professionals, and educational consultants. These professionals can provide valuable insights into property valuations, earning capacities, medical needs, and educational considerations for children, thereby contributing to a comprehensive understanding of the case.

Here to Help with Your Case Strategy

At William Kirby Law, Family Law Attorneys, our team is committed to understanding our client’s case goals and developing a case strategy that supports those goals. In strengthening your case, we can discuss evidence and witnesses that can help your case and how.

Call (215) 515-9901 to request a case consultation today.