If you are in a contested divorce case, you want to put forward the best case possible to justify to the court why your arguments should prevail. In cases in which alimony is the biggest point of friction – which is commonly the case – a vocational evaluation may be an important step.
The question becomes, however, how much will a vocational evaluation cost? And, is the cost of a vocational expert worth it in the long run? Given that legal fees are very expensive, to begin with, it is vital to keep costs in mind. In fact, you should try to retain an attorney who is mindful of the expense of litigation in your case so you can save where you can. The vocational evaluation cost is an important consideration.
In this article, we will discuss some general principles regarding vocational evaluations, and then discuss what a vocational evaluation costs. If, after reviewing this article, you have additional questions about a vocational expert for a workers’ compensation claim, we invite you to contact us at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. – OAS.
We are one of the most experienced employability and life care planning firms in the United States. To discuss your case, call us at 1-800-292-1919, contact us at a location near you, or through our online form.
Some Basics on Vocational Evaluations
When in comes to the question of whether you should invest in getting a vocational expert in your divorce case, let your attorney be your advisor. No one knows your case better than you and your attorney. So, consult with your attorney on whether a vocational expert makes sense.
Here are some general principles with regard to vocational evaluations:
1. Vocational evaluations are typically conducted by trained psychologists or other healthcare professionals.
2. An evaluation will normally require more than one meeting with the vocational expert.
3. The evaluation will look into your skills, education, age, disabilities, and work history. You may also be asked about your hobbies and family history.
4. The vocational expert will likely conduct a personal interview, but will also base his or her evaluation on medical and other records about you.
5. An aptitude or personality test may be part of the evaluation.
6. The vocational expert should conduct market research to find jobs in your area that match your education and skills.
7. The report that results from the evaluation should include the vocational expert’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on the information provided test results, and market research.
Normally, a vocational evaluation will be used to reduce a spouse’s alimony obligations. However, it is sometimes helpful in rooting out one spouse’s attempt to remain underemployed so that he or she does not have to pay as much in alimony.
The Vocational Evaluation Cost
About four years ago, the price for a vocational evaluation was between $4,500 and $5,000, with an additional $1,000 to $1,500 more if the vocational expert would need to testify in court.
Those statistics, however, are from four years ago. Given the rate of inflation, those numbers have gone up slightly. So, today a vocational evaluation should cost between $4,900 to $5,400, with an additional $1,100 to $1,700 extra for the expert’s testimony in court.
Is The Cost Worth It?
The answer is, virtually in every case, a resounding “yes.” There is no question that $5,000 for an expert report is expensive. Yet, try to avoid being “pennywise and pound foolish.” If that $5,000 will save you $1,000 in alimony payments per month (or conversely, mean an additional $1,000 in support payments coming to you each month) then it was a good investment.
Are there cases in which a vocational evaluation will be unnecessary? Sure. When both spouses work in professional fields for long periods of time, there is little doubt about the earning capacity of each, and there is no chance that either spouse is purposefully remaining underemployed, then a vocational evaluation is likely unnecessary.
However, when you have a case in which one spouse served as the breadwinner while the other remained largely at home to take on most of the family responsibilities, then the question of earning capacity becomes an important one.
When spouses remain at home largely for family, the breadwinning spouse needs to understand that there is a cost for that situation. A spouse who makes the choice to stay home – and allow the breadwinner to continue a career – made a sacrifice for that breadwinner, and sacrificed his or her own value in the marketplace for the good of the marriage. Thus, the breadwinner should not complain that alimony in such circumstances is appropriate. A vocational evaluation will demonstrate that point.
In sum, a vocational evaluation could be a very important tool in obtaining a fair, appropriate amount of alimony. You should consult with your attorney to determine whether it is worth it for you.
OAS – Expert Vocational Assessments in Divorce Cases
The experts at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS) have over forty years of experience documenting the income potential and employment capacity of those with wrongful termination cases, as well as with the underemployed, unemployed, and disabled spouses in many types of cases
OAS specializes in working with the plaintiff or defense attorney to assist in objectively documenting the economics in a case. From the initial referral to the trial testimony, OAS works with the retaining attorney so that the vocational assessment of the case can be objectively and efficiently presented.
We strongly believe in the importance of a clear and understandable presentation of the facts. OAS is the leading provider of Vocational Expert and Life Care Planning Services for Plaintiff and Defense attorneys.
The company specializes in assisting attorneys in evaluating earning capacity in divorce cases and documenting the damages in cases where an individual has been severely injured by providing objective findings on how the injuries affect a persons’ ability to work and earn money, as well as the cost of care required in catastrophic injuries.
OAS is your Vocational Expert & Life Care Planner Nationwide, with offices in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Nevada, and California.
Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. is one of the most experienced employability and life care planning firms in the United States. To discuss your case, call us at 1-800-292-1919, contact us at a location near you, or through our online form.