What Does a Vocational Expert Do and How Is That Related to Alimony?

Date Posted:March 26, 2016 | Categories:

vocational expert and alimony

Divorce court judges who issue spousal support orders use the disparity between the partners’ current and future earnings as one the most significant factors for calculating alimony payments. Spousal support can also be mediated in a marriage dissolution, but the difference between what one spouse does and could earn and the earnings of the other spouse will still represent a starting point for negotiations.

 In order to assess each spouse’s income and earnings potential, the judge or mediator requires as much information as possible on the following individual characteristics:

 Educational background

  • Employment status
  • Work and salary history
  • Job skills
  • Age
  • Mental status
  • Physical health

 Vocational experts generally do the work of collecting and analyzing that information.

 In a contested divorce or mediated dissolution proceeding, the Dublin, Ohio, divorce attorney for each party will retain their own vocational experts to prepare a current and future earnings report. This makes choosing an evaluator whose work is above reproach essential, since a lawyer will need to feel confident in arguing for the reliability of the data presented on his or her client’s behalf.

 While working on a divorce case that involves claims for alimony, a vocational expert will try to interview both spouses and request pay stubs, tax returns, bank records, and, if the individual is an executive or entrepreneur, business records. If one spouse refuses to meet in person, the vocational expert will research tax forms, employment records, job market analyses, and local economic reports in order to put together as complete a picture as possible of the uncooperative spouse’s financial situation.

 The final report from the vocational expert will present a range of earnings for each spouse over time. When the difference is significant, as is often the case when one spouse has supported the family with a single income, a judge will have strong grounds for considering ordering payment of spousal support. In a mediated settlement, the interest of the spouse requesting alimony will be bolstered if he or she earns much less than the other partner.

 The actual amount of and schedule for alimony payments will depend on several factors. In addition to earnings disparity, spousal support will depend on the length of the marriage, the regional cost of living, tax burdens, and, depending on the circumstances that led to filing for divorce, statutory requirements.

 Note, however, that spousal support is determined and ordered separately from any child support and divisions of property and assets. The purpose of alimony is to replace part of the financial security the lower-earning spouse previously enjoyed in the marriage.

 The Dublin, OH, divorce attorneys with Edward F. Whipps & Associates ensure their clients have access to the services of the most thorough and trusted vocational experts. The Whipps legal team also strives to ensure that every available source of income information and earnings potential is uncovered and properly accounted. To discuss spousal support issues and to set up an appointment with a lawyer who knows how to secure alimony, contact us by calling (614) 461-6006 or using this form.