Overview

If your divorce case involves spousal maintenance, chances are good that either you or your spouse may have to participate in a vocational evaluation. A vocational evaluation is helpful when the earning capacity of both spouses must be determined before spousal maintenance can be decided.

Usually, a vocational evaluation is necessary where one spouse is seeking spousal maintenance, there is an unemployed spouse with the ability to be employed, or there is an unemployed spouse in need of retraining.

Typically, the person undergoing the vocational evaluation will meet face-to-face with a vocational expert for an interview which consists of a series of tests (for example, ability to communicate in English). The vocational expert will also review the educational and occupational background of the individual (this involves reviewing past performance history, past jobs, and where the individual is in their education).

After this is complete, the vocational expert will research the job market in the particular field where the spouse may be best suited for employment. The findings and conclusions are summarized in a written report. The report will also outline the skills and abilities of the individual. The conclusions drawn in this report provide significant evidence for the court to consider when determining whether or not spousal maintenance is appropriate.

One reason a vocational evaluation may be beneficial is because Minnesota law calls for an examination of the income and expenses of both spouses when spousal maintenance is at issue. This means that the income, job history, and potential income of both spouses is an issue.

A vocational evaluation can be extremely helpful for determining what these numbers and facts are. In fact, sometimes a vocational evaluation is the only persuasive way a court can determine a spouse’s job and skill level. Therefore, a vocational evaluation is important to ensuring that the spousal maintenance award is fair given the circumstances of both spouses.

Determining the amount of spousal maintenance awarded is challenging. With the help of an experienced attorney, you will better protect your interests. At Clausen & Hassan, our lawyers pride themselves on how they serve our clients. Please reach out today for your free consultation—you can call our office at (651) 647-0087 or contact us by email at info@clausen-hassan.com.