Divorces often hit sticking points when it comes to the division of marital assets and issues of spousal support. This can be particularly true when one spouse wants more alimony than the other is willing to give (or thinks is fair).
Whatever side of the issue you may be on, contentions usually fall into one of two areas: How much the dependent spouse really needs and how much the supporting spouse can afford to pay. This is when it can be helpful to involve a vocational expert.
Two examples of how vocational experts could be needed
Imagine, for example, that you’re the supporting spouse. You’ve always made a good living as a consultant, but you’ve developed some health issues that are now limiting your work activity. Your spouse is seeking alimony and believes that you’re reducing your income on purpose to avoid paying a fair amount.
In this situation, a vocational expert can help you demonstrate to the court (if not your spouse) that you really do have physical or mental limitations that affect your earnings. This could keep the court from ordering you to pay support based on your income history instead of what you’re actually making now.
Or, consider this: Maybe you’re the dependent spouse and you want enough spousal support to get back on your feet and get your career back underway. Your spouse, however, says that you were self-supporting in the past and you can be self-supporting almost immediately.
In that situation, a vocational expert can give a realistic estimate of how well your education and skills would translate into the current job market, and what effect any gap in your work history would have. That could support your position and encourage the court to award you a longer period of support.
When there’s a lot of money and assets involved, a divorce is rarely a simple process. Understanding what you need to do to protect your interests isn’t easy without legal assistance.