A vocational evaluation is the process in court used to assess a person’s current or future employability and wage earning capacity using the skills they already have. A vocational evaluation is requested when one spouse is trying to prove that the supported spouse has the earning ability and opportunity to earn income if they are not currently employed. The unemployed spouse is then responsible for making reasonable efforts to seek appropriate employment in order to make required support payments.
The evaluation usually consists of two to three meetings with a skilled, professional vocational evaluator that will analyze interests, work and earnings history, education, and life experience of the spouse that is seeking employment.
In the first meeting, the vocational evaluator will perform a current labor market search of all the available jobs the spouse needing employment qualifies for, complete with contact information, salary information and training requirements.
The next meeting may include vocational testing, which are used to develop a profile of the individual that includes details of abilities, aptitudes, skills, interests, personality, decision making style and work values. A counselor will discuss with you how to better understand your profile and the results of the testing. The profile is very helpful in that it can guide you toward better focus on a career direction and discover abilities, strengths and weaknesses that you may have not been aware of having before.
In between appointments, you can meet with your evaluator to research employment options in your geographical area.
A vocational evaluation can also be requested if one spouse is employed, but it can be considered underemployed (i.e. the spouse has an advanced degree, but works a minimum wage or low paying job).
If one spouse does not find suitable work as required, the other party has the right to keep requesting that they do. If the spouse refuses to work, the court will lower spousal support from what it would be if they were employed, but the amount would still be set at what they would be earning if they were capable of earning employment.
No matter what your financial situation during a divorce, it is important to speak with a Phoenix divorce lawyer to discuss all of your legal options. At The Sampair Group, our high conflict resolution attorneys take the time to get to know you and the circumstances of your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.