When defining the term “Handwriting Expert” as one who is qualified to offer certified opinions with respect to forgery, there is a gray area for those who are not familiar with the industry. Results of internet searches for “Handwriting Expert” fail to differentiate between a graphologist and a forensic handwriting expert. With just a little bit of research results show that the differences are quite profound. The most important and basic difference between a graphologist and a forensic document examiner is the background, training, experience and board certification required by each profession.
The practice of graphology is the act of determining degrees of personality characteristics, physical attributes or injuries to an individual based only on the “appearance” of one’s handwriting. For example, if an individual makes capital letters shorter than some lower case letters a graphologist may conclude that the author has a low self-esteem. Recently a graphology online course offer a course designed train the graphologist on how to identify the sex of the unborn child by examining the expectant mother’s handwriting.
On the other hand a forensic document examiner provides opinions as to the authenticity or true history of a document or disputed signature. Based on proven scientific principles the details, elements and characteristics of a document or signature can be identified and compared to determine whether-or-not the document or signature is genuine or a forgery.
Confusing a forensic handwriting expert for a graphologist can land you on the wrong end of a correction lecture. The practice of graphology requires relatively a simple certification, which can be completed in just a few months while to become a certified forensic document examiner one is required to train a minimum of two years before embarking on certification which could take another year and a half to two years. Whose analysis and opinion would you trust in a court of law?