What Is A Vocational Evaluation?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

A vocational evaluation is a tool…it is a way to intimidate a non working spouse, but more than that it is a tool to evaluate what a spouse’s income could be if they were fully employed.  The judge in Palm Beach County divorce court has the ability to impute an income to a person if the court makes certain findings:  that the spouse is voluntarily underemployed, that the spouse could earn at the least a minimum wage, that the spouse has an education and a great income work history.

Income is important in divorce matters because child support is based upon income, as well as an award of alimony and attorneys fees.  Both alimony and attorneys fees are based upon need and ability to pay.  Proving a spouse’s income is a very important issue for more than just one purpose.

A vocational evaluation is performed by a trained therapist/psychologist.  You have to motion the court so that your spouse is court ordered to submit to a vocational evaluation.  This is especially important where a spouse is asking the court to award a rehabilitative alimony.   If you are thinking about divorce in Palm Beach County, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

A Divorce Can Jump Start Your Life

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

A divorce can and often does jump start your life…instead of looking at a divorce as a failure, as many have a tendency to do, look at divorce as a positive beginning.  You are taking an affirmative step to get out of a bad situation.  Divorce can be like bankruptcy…a reorganization of your life. 

Here’s what you will need during or after your divorce:

1.  Do some estate planning and eliminate your spouse from your will, trusts and other estate planning documents.

2.  Reevaluate your life, health, accident, disability, car and long term care insurances.

3.  Get some tax advice either during divorce settlement talks or immediately thereafter.

4.  Same for financial advice…what to do with your settlement funds.

5.  If you want to go back to school or to work, seek the advice of a vocational counselor.  This is a must if you are asking for rehabilitative alimony and a must if you are planning a professional future that you don’t already have.

6.  See what your real estate investments are really worth to you… evaluate a refinancing or a purchase or a sale, or even becoming a landlord by renting out your property.

7.  Get yourself some psychological counseling.  This will help you with the transition from married to single.

Overall, you have a new you.  With the right attitude you will see how much you can accomplish.  For more information about the divorce process or if you are thinking about getting a divorce in Palm Beach County, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

What Is A Vocational Evaluation And When Is It Used In Court?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I have a client whose wife has a college degree and a license to practice real estate sales.   However, the husband and wife agreed about 6 years ago, that the wife would stay home and raise the children as a stay at home mother.  The husband, my client, was and is the major breadwinner of the family. 

Now the children are in high school, and the wife is still a stay at home mom.  She has filed for divorce and wants a permanent alimony.  The wife wants to maintain the lifestyle of the marriage.  Except the husband is in the building industry and new home construction is down along with his income in this present economy.  The issue is does the wife have to go out to work now that she will be divorced?

So in order to prove that she is capable of earning a living, I motioned the court for a vocational study to determine her employability in today’s marketplace.   With her active license and her education level, the wife went off to the evaluator, who is a psychologist, for testing.   The testing most likely will result in the conclusion that the wife is employable at some salary.  Therefore my client’s (husband) obligation to pay a hefty alimony will be diminished because of the law of alimony, which is wife’s need in this case and husband’s ability to pay.  Her need will be lowered by my proving to the judge that she can work and earn something.   Her children are grown and I do believe the judge will take all of those findings into consideration in a lower alimony award than she expects. 

So what is the defense side?  If I were representing the wife, if I couldn’t prevent the motion for vocational evaluation by issuing a request for a protective order, then afterwards, I could negotiate a much larger piece of the marital estate instead of a 50/50 split in lieu of a permanent alimony.  That way my client (wife now) would get the money or assets up front and have the freedom to invest with her own control.  I would also focus on what she is capable of earning and the fact that she can’t find a job in real estate in this market.  Thereby I would have established her need for support even if albeit she gets only a small award of alimony.  She would have a larger portion of the marital estate and perhaps even remain in the marital home.

In conclusion, vocational evaluations are used in court to lower support obligations of the other party.  They are a very effective tool, but ultimately it is the judge who at his/her discretion decides what is going to be if the parties can’t come to some collaborative divorce resolution.  For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.