How to Determine Spousal Earnings in Family Law Cases – Part 1

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Vocational Experts are increasingly being used by Matrimonial attorneys to evaluate a spouse’s earning capacity. An Employability expert’s testimony can be used to lower alimony payments to spouses.

Employability experts have extensive experience in placing individuals in jobs given their age, education, past work experience, previously learned skills, and medical limitations if any. Matrimonial attorneys will retain such an expert to determine what jobs, if any, a spouse can perform and what the jobs pay in the local labor market. Some employability experts also document the availability of jobs the spouse can perform and the wages for these jobs. The salaries for the open jobs are compared to the average earnings reported by federal and state government wage survey.

Employability experts are used to documenting a spouse’s earning potential. In cases of unemployed, underemployed, or “disabled spouses” a vocational evaluation is necessary.  The evaluation encompasses a diagnostic interview, vocational testing if necessary, local labor market research, and a determination of the evaluee’s employability.

A recent case in the New York Post reported how an individual who spent a number of years in the entertainment business resigned his $2 million jobs in Broadcast Television during the time of his divorce to take a $300,000 job in the cable. The judge imputed his income to his previous job (earning $2 million). A Vocational Expert was then able to locate open jobs paying equal to his past earnings. According to the newspaper accounts, he has failed to abide by the judge’s rulings and will be spending the next 20 weekends in jail.

OAS is a Nationwide Vocational Expert service with offices in NJ, NY, FL, TX, GA, & CA. To see how the OAS Vocational Experts can assist you in evaluating a spouse in a divorce case consult or Call 800-292-1919 for professional qualifications, fee schedule, and a sample report.