The Value of a Vocational Expert in Divorce Cases

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Jeff Landers, a divorce financial advisor and contributor to Forbes magazine, suggests that people going through a divorce should have a solid “divorce team” to help them through the process, including a divorce attorney, a financial advisor, and a therapist to help the adult or children during the divorce. Landers also suggests that a vocational expert be added to the divorce team in a July 2012 article from Forbes.com. While Landers targets his writing toward women getting divorced, his advice may apply to men as well.

According to Landers, a vocational expert can help your case during divorce proceedings in the following ways:

  1. A vocational expert can provide “an objective, professional assessment of your spouse’s earning potential.” Spouses who earn a high income commonly request that spousal or child support be calculated at a lower earnings rate, and may base the argument on factors such as the state of the economy, expected inflation, employment trends, etc. In some cases, a high-earning spouse may even quit his or her present job and take another at a lower salary in order to lower support payments. While this is certainly a “dirty trick,” some people do try it. A vocational expert can testify to factors such as the paying spouse’s earning potential or whether employment trends indicate that a spouse with a lower income may rebound and when this upturn might occur.
  1. A vocational expert can “provide a realistic idea of your own employability and earning potential.” Even if one spouse in a divorce case has been out of the workforce for years, the other spouse may insist that he or she is capable of earning a huge income, especially if the spouse who has been out of the workforce has an advanced degree or special skills. A vocational expert can provide information about how the educational or training level of each spouse should position each one within the existing job market, and whether further training or education may be necessary in order to upgrade current skills.
  1. A vocational expert can “provide another opinion if your spouse is retaining a vocational expert, or if a vocational evaluation is Court-ordered.” If one spouse requests spousal support or alimony as part of a divorce settlement, the other spouse may bring up the matter of the requesting spouses earning potential. High projected earnings may result in a reduction of support payments. A vocational expert can clarify what each spouse’s potential earnings may truly be.
  1. A vocational expert can “evaluate employability or earning capacity after a change in life circumstances.” Vocational experts can verify to the Court any changes in your earning potential. If you have been hurt or sick, for example, a vocational expert can evaluate any limitations you may have and present them to the court, which may result in an adjustment to support payments.

Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS) is one of the top companies providing vocational experts in divorce cases authoring the definitive articles on using Vocational Experts in Divorce cases.   In addition, we have been involved in some of the landmark cases in using vocational experts in Divorce cases in New York and New Jersey.   Contact OAS at 800-292-1919 to discuss how we can help with your case.