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

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A vocational expert’s testimony expert can be a powerful tool of persuasion in a divorce case. Below is a case illustrations in which a vocational expert influenced a court to denying a spouse alimony because of his potential ability to find work and earn money.

In the case of Mayfield v. Mayfield, the Tennessee Court of Appeal initially awarded a husband limited transitional alimony. The husband was a farmer, but he also had worked as a machinist before the divorce. His wife was a full-time pharmacist. The husband claimed he could not find meaningful employment as a machinist due to his lack of familiarity with modern technology. He argued he needed alimony to support himself and obtain the proper training that could lead to employment. The Supreme Court of Tennessee reversed and denied the husband’s award of alimony on appeal.

A vocational expert testified that the husband possessed transferable skills in both machinery and farming. He testified that the husband was capable of performing heavy labor and was qualified to work in sales of agricultural supplies and equipment, auto parts, and building supplies. The vocational expert also testified that the husband had the skills needed to work in a variety of positions paying between $24,400 and $57,000 per year in the local labor market.

Based on this vocational expert testimony, the Court reversed the award for transitional alimony, finding that the husband completely failed to show a need for alimony.

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. Mr. Provder has written the two definitive articles regarding the use of Vocational Experts in Divorce cases. Contact OAS at 800-292-1919 to discuss how we can help in your case.