Impact of a Vocational Expert in a Divorce Case: Awarding Alimony

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Because vocational expert testimony is becoming an increasingly powerful tool of persuasion in divorce cases, it is highly recommended that each spouse in a divorce proceeding retain their own vocational expert. Below is a case illustration in which a vocational expert influenced a court to award a spouse alimony because of her inability to find work and earn money, despite the fact that she was more educated than her husband.

In Loyd v. Loyd, a trial court initially denied the wife in the proceeding alimony. The wife was a high school graduate and held a vocational degree in cosmetology. The husband had stopped attending school in the eighth grade. During the marriage, the couple started a telephone service company. The company was awarded to the wife in the original trial court divorce decree.

The wife hired a vocational expert, who testified that the wife’s physical and emotional problems would only allow her to work 20-32 hours per week at the telephone service. In light of this testimony, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court decision and awarded the wife alimony. The court was persuaded by the vocational expert testimony that even though the wife was more educated and now owned the telephone service company, her limited ability to work full time entitled her to alimony.

A vocational expert’s testimony has the increasing ability to educate courts as to the determination of an alimony or child support award. Even if the facts of the case may seem to lean towards one spouse initially, a vocational expert’s testing and reports can bring to light factors that reposition a “advantaged” or “supporting” spouse to a “disadvantaged” or “supported” spouse.


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.Contact OAS at 800-292-1919 to discuss how we can help in your case.