What is a “Vocational Evaluation”?
A vocational evaluation is a process whereby a trained expert meets with an individual to gather information in order to evaluate that person’s skills, potential, interests, abilities and limitations in the work force. The expert may review past employment records, interview, and perform certain vocational tests on the individual to determine their earning ability and skills in the work place.
A vocational evaluation can be requested by an individual, a lawyer, or even the court depending on the needs of the parties and the situation. Under Family Code Section 4331, a party in a dissolution of marriage or legal separation action may file a motion requesting the court to order the opposing party to submit to such an evaluation for good cause. The vocational evaluator is then appointed by the court as the court’s expert pursuant to Evidence Code 730. The examination assesses the party’s ability to obtain employment based on their age, health, education, skills, employment history, and so forth.
Vocational evaluations are typically ordered when a party is unemployed or underemployed and they allege they do not have the ability to earn more money. For instance, if a wife with a college degree or specialized training, with work experience, alleges she does not have the ability to make any income, the court will likely order a vocational evaluation to assess the her true earning capacity.
The evaluator will prepare a report, after meeting with the individual, that will disclose his or her findings. Such report may later be used in court or the evaluator can testify to their findings in court.
Determining an individual’s earning capacity and other issues concerning spousal and child support can become very time consuming and complex. Hiring an experienced attorney, such as the attorneys at Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP, will ensure you receive the best possible result in your case. Please contact our office at (619) 284-4113, to set up your free consultation.
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