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Vocational Evaluation can help and protect you in divorce...

  1. You want a dispassionate and objective assessment of your spouse’s earning capability as an offense against lethargy;
    1. A spouse who has worked hard for the marriage shall very often want alimony pendente lite, alimony and/or child support to be valued or determined on a much lower income than has been the historic earnings. This occurs unfortunately all too often, and happens despite the negative implications for the children.
    2. The high-earning spouse may quit a job, take lower responsibilities or for family or closely-held businesses claim income has been reduced due to “the economy” or other vagaries; all this only so the APL, alimony and child support payments will be less.
    3. These are despicable, yet common tactics to be sure — and they’re particularly difficult to understand when child support is involved. We caution you: spouses and other attorney’s encourage these poor behaviors more often than you may know.
  2. You want an updated and honest assessment of your own employment and earning potential as a defense against over-inflation;
    1. A spouse can and may demand the other party is more than fully capable of earning a huge income, even if the other party has been entirely out of the workforce for many years. This claim is an especially likely if the other party has advanced degrees or special training.
    2. If, for example, you are a woman, and you “gave-up” work outside the home to bear and raise children, you should want to understand your employment prospects in today’s economy as well as what you can expect to earn if you re-enter the workforce. A vocational expert can evaluate for you how your education and work history prepare you in today’s job market, what are and how challenging are the gaps compared to employers’ requirements, and whether you may want additional training.
    3. Normally, this type of career advice would simply be welcomed because it’s helpful in achieving personal and professional growth. For a divorce situation, knowing your strengths and weaknesses is also a valuable defensive tactic. Vocational expertise can help ensure your settlement is determined fairly
  3. You need an alternative appraisal to your spouse’s assertions or expert testimony
    1. When one spouse requests alimony as part of a divorce, the other party can ask that a vocational evaluation be conducted to determine the appropriate earning capacity in the current job market. When the projected earning potential is imputed, or a value is assigned by the courts, the basis for the alimony required to be paid by the higher income spouse can be reduced by the amount of earning capacity determined or assigned. You want this to be a fair assessment, right?
    2. For example, if you are qualified to work in a field where jobs are available paying $80,000/year, but you choose to work at a bookshop and earn $20,000, it is possible your spouse’s obligation to pay you alimony would be based on the $80,000 you “could/should” be earning; not the amount you actual are earning.
    3. Alternatively, if your spouse, who has an MBA, leaves you, and decides to work a few days a week in restaurant business owned by your spouse’s family, and only reports being paid “wait staff wages, in-cash” (i.e. less than minimum wage); unless you hire a vocational expert to determine the value your spouse could/should be earning, the courts may only assign a minimum wage; causing you to pay an artificially high amount in support.
    4. In many divorces, particular those with high emotions and contentious cases, both parties may choose to hire a vocational expert to be sure that the conclusions reached are reasonable, fair and consistent.
  4. You want help understanding and evaluating your employment and earning capacities after your change in situation
    1. Over the course of your life, your ability to earn changes; sometimes due to circumstances beyond your control. Illness or injury may not allow you to work as you did previously. Vocational Experts can guide you to find useful and fulfilling work you are now capable of completing and enjoying. Such experts can objectively evaluate and document your restrictions or limitations to the Court so alimony can be assigned that is appropriate.
    2. Alternatively, you may want a vocational expert to support, and corroborate to the Court, your assertion that your spouse’s circumstances have changed such that an adjustment in support payments to you is warranted and appropriate.