RULE 12.365 EXPERT WITNESSES
(a) Application. The procedural requirements in this rule shall apply whenever an expert is appointed by the court or retained by a party. This rule applies to all experts including, but not limited to, medical, psychological, social, financial, vocational, and economic experts. Where in conflict, this rule shall supersede Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.360.
(b) Communication with Court by Expert. No expert may communicate with the court without prior notice to the parties and their attorneys, who shall be afforded the opportunity to be present and heard during the communication between the expert and the court. A request for communication with the court may be conveyed informally by letter or telephone. Further communication with the court, which may be conducted informally, shall be done only with notice to all parties.
(c) Use of Evidence. The court shall not entertain any presumption in favor of a court-appointed expert's opinion. Any opinion by an expert may be entered into evidence on the court's own motion or the motion of any party in a manner consistent with the rules of evidence, subject to cross-examination by the parties.
(d) Evaluation of Minor Child. This rule shall not apply to any evaluation of a minor child under rule 12.363.
1998 Adoption. This rule establishes the procedure to be followed for the use of experts. The District Court of Appeal, Fourth District, has encouraged the use of court-appointed experts to review financial information and reduce the cost of divorce litigation. Tomaino v. Tomaino, 629 So. 2d 874 (Fla. 4th DCA 1993). Additionally, section 90.615(1), Florida Statutes, allows the court to call witnesses whom all parties may cross-examine. See also Fed. R. Evid. 706 (trial courts have authority to appoint expert witnesses).
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