NY Family Law: Vocational Experts

Rincker Law Family/Matrimonial Law Leave a Comment

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Imputation of income to determine spousal and child support can be complicated and a vocational expert may be of help in evaluating the various factors involved in this process. A vocational expert (“VE”) is an authority in the areas of vocational rehabilitation, vocational and earning capacity, loss of earnings, cost of replacement of labor and lost ability/time in performing household services. In divorce cases, vocational experts are often used to provide testimony on the employability of the opposing spouse or to explain the employment status of the spouse who hired the VE.

In imputing income to a party, the Court looks at how much a party has the potential to earn rather than how much he or she is currently earning. A VE can be used offensively or defensively depending on what needs to be proven in imputing income. In an offensive strategy, the VE can be used to determine if the opposing spouse should be making more than he or she claims. The VE will base these conclusions on the opposing party’s education, past income, job experience, as well as other relevant factors.

The VE can also be used in a defensive strategy to rebut evidence from opposing spouse that the spouse hiring the VE is purposely unemployed or underemployed. The expert can testify to information regarding how much time it would take a person with specific qualifications to get a job that meets the standards of his or her education and work experience. Further, the expert can provide information on whether the method which a party used to search for another job would be considered diligent and appropriate in keeping with the standards of that industry.

Whether or not a party going through a divorce should hire a vocational expert to evaluate factors relating to imputation of income is fact specific to each case. The attorneys at Rincker Law, PLLC are prepared to help in making this decision.

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