As a practicing family lawyer, you know that among the many things that need to be sorted out in a divorce, a major piece is spousal maintenance and child support. The number that you arrive at for those matters in your divorce cases depends on the earning capacity of each spouse and parent.
Back in the day, a vocational specialist – who is an expert in providing an opinion on earning capacity – was normally brought in to give an assessment of a woman and mother’s earning capacity. That is because the mother had traditionally been the person to take on the lion’s share of child-rearing duties. In marriages without children, the woman traditionally were lower-wage earners in the household.
Those days, however, are long gone. Many households include men who primarily handle child-rearing, and are the lower wage-earning partner between the two. Thus, divorce cases today require that both sides obtain an assessment of the other partner’s earning capability.
In this article, we cover three primary reasons why each side to divorce needs to employ a vocational specialist. If, after reading this article, you have more questions about a vocational specialist for your own divorce clients, then we welcome you to talk to 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 at1-800-292-1919, contact us at a location near you, or through our online form.
1. An In-Depth, Objective Assessment
As vocational experts, we have seen it all with regard to certain tricks that people will play to manipulate their perceived income. Moreover, we are able to investigate more deeply the root cause of certain perceived earning capacity deficiencies.
Thus, while you, as a busy attorney, are trying your best just to get the top-sheet income numbers and benefit requirements correct, a vocational specialist has the knowledge and experience to provide some much-needed additional dimension to those numbers. With some information behind earning capacity numbers, you might find that you have better arguments to make that will increase the income for your client, and/or benefits for the children at issue.
Here are some examples of tactics often used by divorcing partners. A higher-earning spouse may do their level best to show that they do not have money to pay spousal or child support. Such individuals
1. Have been known to quit their job to avoid paying support,
2. Have accepted a lower-paying title to minimize support, or
3. Assert that economic conditions have dramatically altered their earning potential.
In many cases, the lower-earning spouse is unable to pierce through the tactics of the other to show that the higher-earning spouse is simply trying to hide his or her income.
Vocational specialists are able to cut through such devious strategies. A vocational specialist’s job is to assess the whole person, including their
4. Experience, and
to find which careers are the best fit. A specialist will also engage in a labor market analysis to determine both a person’s ability to get a job and what he or she can expect to earn.
The vocational specialist, through their thorough analysis, can account for factors such as the time one spouse may have been out of the workforce, or an injury or illness that kept a spouse from working in their chosen field.
In sum, the value that vocational specialists bring to a divorce case is substantial. They can “pull the rug out” from any type of tactic that people may use to try to avoid their financial obligations, particularly their obligations to their children.
2. Level the Playing Field
Another reason to have a vocational specialist as part of your divorce legal team is because the other side will likely do the same. Thus, in contentious divorce cases, both sides will bring a vocational specialist so that he or she can both assess the other party’s earning capacity, and find questionable conclusions in the other party’s expert report.
3. Tangential Career Benefits
As you know, the more knowledge you have about the facts in your case, the better you will be at litigating that case. In short, knowledge is power.
Vocational specialists add value by giving you more information and more facts about your case. Following a vocational assessment, a person will have a better understanding of their skills, the labor market, and their potential for career advancement. Prior to that assessment, an individual may not have been aware of their own career opportunities.
Thus, a tangential benefit of engaging in a vocational assessment is that one or both spouses might learn that they are able to work in the career of their dreams. Thus, the situation has improved for both parties during and after the divorce.
Let OAS Prepare a Vocational Evaluation in Your Divorce Cases.
The vocational experts at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS) have over forty years of experience documenting the income potential and employment capacity of underemployed, unemployed, and disabled spouses in divorce 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.
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.