When determining spousal maintenance, there are many factors that are considered. Although it would be easy for a spouse who does not work to simply ask for money to support their lifestyle, it is not unusual for the working spouse to expect that the non-working spouse will get a job to assist in supporting themselves. When there is a non-working spouse, a vocational evaluation can be helpful.
What is a Vocational Evaluation?
A vocational evaluation is performed by a vocational expert, to assess and determine the following:
- What employment options are available in the local job market
- The likelihood of the spouse being hired for such available positions
- The anticipated earnings in those positions
If the vocational evaluation is coupled with career counseling, the non-working spouse’s interests and preferences for a future career may also be examined. The evaluator can then outline any additional education needed for those career choices, identify the length of time and cost necessary to complete this education, and estimate potential earnings within that career choice. A good evaluator will also determine how the chosen employment field or career options have been impacted by the recent economic climate.
Can I Request a Vocational Evaluation?
Either spouse can request that the other submit to a vocational evaluation. Spousal maintenance is intended to be rehabilitative, so that the non-working spouse can achieve independence. Therefore, the current and future earning potential and career plans are factors that may impact the amount and duration of spousal maintenance. Vocational evaluations can be very useful for settlement purposes. If no settlement is reached, the information will be used by the court to formulate an appropriate spousal maintenance award.
If you are divorcing, have not worked during your marriage or wish to embark on a more profitable career, a vocational evaluation is an opportunity for you to plan for your future.
Contact us at Hallier Lawrence to help with your vocational evaluation and your long-term financial well-being.