Family Law

Family Law News Issue 2, 2020, Volume 42, No. 2

Vocational Evaluations: How They Can Assist with Child and Spousal Support Accountability

Jessica Bohne, M.Ed., CRC

Jessica Bohne has extensive professional experience in both the public and private sector, assisting individuals with disabilities to define their return to work objectives and reach their overall career goals in employment. She is currently the President of Bohne Vocational Services has been actively retained for her diverse expertise on multiple vocational related cases. She is an active member of IARP (International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals) as a Board Member and Mentee in the Forensic Vocational Evaluation section of the organization and specializes in Family Law and Worker’s Compensation vocational evaluations.

The American family structure is more diverse than ever with regard to the earning capacity of spouses. The majority of married couples with children are dual income; however, there are many instances where a divorcing spouse will be out of work by mutual agreement, to raise children, or due to health reasons or disability. A spouse may also be unemployed involuntarily, e.g., termination, job change, or downsizing. They may also be purposefully out of work, underemployed, or hiding income, which is when imputed income is needed the most. When issues of spousal and child support arise, determining proper earning capacity for which either spouse should hold responsibility becomes an extremely important issue.

In these types of cases, it is beneficial to call upon a vocational expert to provide a thorough evaluation. A vocational expert is hired to provide professional evaluations, testimony, and opinions regarding the vocational aspects of a case and what a party is capable of earning in local labor markets. The evaluation should aim to determine the highest level of vocational functioning of a spouse, earning capacity, as well as the need for further training or education (if necessary).

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