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Orange County Divorce Blog

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Review of Expert's Fees

Benner v. Tam; Kachorek is an unusual case in that the court's 730 expert had been joined to the dissolution.

A judgment for divorce had been entered in this case. The mother filed a post judgment motion to modify custody. The court appointed an expert, Dr Kachorek, to conduct a custody evaluation. The doctor completed his report and served it on both parents. The mother argued that the expert's report was deficient, and he failed to follow the requirements of his appointment order and that his opinion was biased against her. The mother filed a motion to exclude the doctor's report from evidence.

The family law judge agreed with the mother and excluded the report. The judge also reserved jurisdiction over the issue of whether or not the doctor should reimburse the parties for the amount charged for the evaluation. The court then ordered that the doctor be joined to the divorce proceedings as an indispensable party. The doctor filed a motion stating that he could not be joined in that manner, the court then requested one parent to file a joinder of the doctor. The doctor appealed the joinder.

The court of appeals held that the doctor does not need to be joined as an indispensable party. In order to determine the reasonableness of expert's fees, a court must merely give notice to the two parties and the doctor that it is holding an evidentiary hearing with respect to the fees charged. By giving notice, all parties have the ability to participate.

If you need legal advice and are looking for a family law lawyer in Orange County to address a dissolution issue such as a 730 evaluator or any other divorce matter such as legal separation, annulment, custody, child support, spousal support and/or property division, please consider Treviño Law in your divorce attorney search. We are located in Laguna Hills right off Lake Forest exit to both the 405 and 5 freeway.

Although the posting of this information can be considered free legal advice for a divorce in Orange County, it does not address other factors which may play a significant role in a particular dissolution. Circumstances in your divorce may alter the results in your dissolution.

Please note that this legal advice does not establish a family law attorney-client relationship. This is a legal advertisement for Treviño Law, Inc.