Language Interpretation and Expert Testimony in International Family Law Cases

We’ve blogged about legal translation services and legal interpreters in the context of admissibility and exclusion of foreign language testimony and about translators and interpreters as expert witnesses in federal courts. Expert testimony is frequently needed in international family law cases, and such testimony is often secured in cases concerning international child abduction, particularly in cases in which one parent is seeking to prevent the other from having overseas visitation with the child or relocating with the child to another country.

However it is also useful in a myriad of other cases, including:

  • The factors that indicate that an individual is likely to commit an international child abduction
  • The degree of the risk of an international child abduction that is presented by an individual having specific risk factors
  • The sufficiency of terms of a proposed custody order in preventing a potential international child abduction
  • The likelihood that a foreign country will return an abducted child
  • The division of foreign marital assets
  • The discovery of hidden marital assets
  • The enforcement of foreign divorce and custody judgments.

When expert testimony is used in any of the above mentioned situations, it is essential that a foreign language interpretation is provided. This is essential not only in the foreign jurisdiction, where the language of practice is most likely something other than English, but also for the record in the home jurisdiction. In other words, all documents filed in the foreign jurisdiction should have an English translation for purposes of pursuing a similar action in the US.

Up Next: Professional Translation and Estate Taxes in an International Setting