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Vocational Experts and Your Florida Divorce


There may be certain Florida divorce cases that can benefit from the assistance of a vocational expert. A vocational expert is someone who will evaluate a spouse during the divorce to determine whether his or her employability and earning capacity are in line with what they are claiming. Their expertise will help the court decide how much and how long child and spousal support should be awarded.

What is a Vocational Evaluation?

A vocational evaluation seeks to understand what one’s earning capacity and potential is. The evaluation takes into account the nuances and specifics of the individual’s industry, the general job market, etc. Some factors that will influence a vocational evaluation include:

  • Education
  • Job skills and credentials
  • Work history
  • Jobs available locally
  • Historical earnings

The vocational expert will look at what is happening in the overall economy — has it slowed in recent years or is it booming?

How Vocational Experts Can Assist in a Florida Divorce

If one spouse is seeking alimony, the use of a vocational expert may be helpful. This is something you can discuss with your Boca Raton family law attorney. It’s important to understand that there is a direct correlation with someone’s potential earning capacity and the amount of alimony a Florida family court judge will consider awarding.

Florida Statutes Section 61.08 is the alimony law in the state. It sets forth the right for the court to issue an alimony award provided there is an actual need for spousal support that can be supported. Any facts and evidence that can support the request for alimony will go a long way in the judge’s decision. This is where a vocational expert can help.

Some people mistakenly assume that if they are currently unemployed, they have no earning capacity. However, that is not the case. If you or your spouse is staying unemployed on purpose thinking it means you won’t have to pay the other spouse, it won’t work. The court is aware that people try to do this in order to avoid paying support. The courts operate with the assumption that all people can work in order to support themselves, and all people should do so. Therefore, someone who makes the personal choice not to work will still have income “imputed” to them.

Vocational experts are great if you need a second opinion when your spouse has retained their own vocational expert or if the court will order a vocational evaluation. They can also rebut your spouse’s claim that you could earn more than is actually reasonably possible. Sometimes a vocational expert is needed because there has been a serious life changing event, like an accident or a serious illness.

Contact a Florida Divorce Attorney

If you are preparing for a divorce, it’s important to have a skilled Boca Raton divorce attorney on your side, especially if it’s complicated. You should not try to retain a vocational expert on your own. If you need assistance with your pending divorce, contact the Law Offices of Schwartz | White today at 561-391-9943 to schedule an initial consultation.


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