What Is a Motion for Vocational Examination?


A Motion for Vocational Examination is a form of discovery that Pasadena divorce law allows when there is a dispute about the earning potential of one of the spouses as it relates to child support or spousal support.

Evaluations are most commonly used when one spouse has been unemployed for an extended period of time, but may also be used if there is reason to believe that one spouse is significantly underemployed and could easily be earning a much higher salary.

The counselor performing the evaluation must have a Master's Degree in the Behavioral Sciences, experience interviewing clients and assessing marketable skills, and the ability to administer and interpret exams assessing career options. The counselor must also understand current employment conditions and average wages for jobs in the area the spouse is living and be able to provide advice regarding appropriate education and training programs.

During the evaluation, the vocational counselor will try to determine the spouse's earning capacity based on previous work history, education, and experience. Limitations based on medical conditions or disability will also be factored into the evaluation, as well any special concerns associated with being the primary caretaker of the children from the marriage.

A vocational counselor can:

  • Estimate a realistic length of time to find suitable employment
  • Determine the cost and duration of any needed training
  • Assess whether the spouse being evaluated has made a good faith effort to seek employment
  • Evaluate the impact of factors such as age and physical health on the spouse's need for support

The court can't force a spouse to work based on the findings of the vocational examination. However, if the exam reveals that the spouse should be able to find work or obtain a position that pays more than what he or she is currently earning, the court can use imputed income when making support calculations.

How Can We Help?

If you have questions about the use of a vocational examination during your divorce, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com. Our Pasadena matrimonial lawyers are eager to provide the assistance you need to help you resolve your divorce-related concerns as quickly as possible.