In family law matters where financial issues are in dispute, a party can request that the court order the opposing party to undergo a vocational exam. A vocational exam or vocational evaluation is when a party hires a vocational expert to determine the opposing party’s ability to work and income potential. While the court does not have to rely on the expert’s findings, it can be very beneficial in cases where a party has been out of work for an extended period of time or in situations where a party appears to be earning much less than their education and/or work experience would indicate.
It is important to remember that the party requesting the evaluation must pay for the expert, which can mean a bill of anywhere from $1,000.00 to $10,000.00 depending on the expert hired and the amount of work necessary to complete the exam. A party must weigh the amount of child support, maintenance or attorney’s fees they may be gaining with a favorable exam before spending the money. A party must also consider how far along they are in the divorce process as some evaluations can take a few months and slow down the timeline of a case.