If your divorce case involves spousal maintenance, chances are that either you or your spouse may have to participate in a vocational evaluation. Simply put, a vocational evaluation incorporates the following:
- The person meets face-to-face with a vocational expert;
- The vocational expert interviews the spouse;
- The vocational expert administers a series of tests (for example, ability to communicate in English, etc.);
- The vocational expert reviews the educational and occupational background of the candidate. (This involves reviewing past performance history and educational credentials);
- Vocational expert researches the job market in the particular field where the spouse may be best suited for employment;
- Finally, the vocational expert summarizes the findings and conclusions in a written report.
When do I need an evaluation?
Here are some examples of why a vocational evaluation may be necessary.
Case One — Spouse seeking spousal maintenance
You may be the spouse who is seeking spousal maintenance and your spouse believes that you have the ability to earn more income. You might want to consider participating in a vocational evaluation to provide a neutral opinion on your employability and ability to earn income.
Case Two — Unemployed spouse with ability to be employed
Your spouse is unemployed and you believe that your spouse has the ability to be fully employed. You can request that your spouse undergo a vocational evaluation.
Case Three — Unemployed spouse needing retraining
Example Number Three: Your spouse has been out of the work force for a while but you believe that your spouse has the ability to earn income after a short period of retraining. A vocational evaluation might be helpful to determine the level of retraining, the cost of retraining, and future job prospects. The Minnesota spousal maintenance statute calls for an examination of the income and expenses of both spouses. Please see Minn. Stat. § 518.552:
“In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, or in a proceeding for maintenance following dissolution of the marriage by a court which lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse and which has since acquired jurisdiction, the court may grant a maintenance order for either spouse if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance:
- lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for reasonable needs of the spouse considering the standard of living established during the marriage, especially, but not limited to, a period of training or education, or
- is unable to provide adequate self-support, after considering the standard of living established during the marriage and all relevant circumstances, through appropriate employment, or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home.”
It is in this context that the earning capacity of both spouses in an issue and that is where vocational evaluation can be extremely helpful, yet it often goes overlooked by those less experienced in divorce law. I have decades of demonstrable success in family court and a deep knowledge of every intricacy of Minnesota family law. Don’t just take my word for it—take a look through our Testimonials page for the opinions of those who have come through our doors with great burdens, and walked out with lighter shoulders by far. Please, contact us today to schedule your free consultation. You can call us at 651-647-0087 or reach out via our online contact form.
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