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How does a vocational skills counselor impact spousal support?

When a California couple gets a divorce, one of the concerns that will be important is the possibility of spousal support. Alternatively referred to as alimony, this is a frequently contentious issue with a spouse being ordered to pay for the other spouse's upkeep until that spouse can self-support. It could last for an extended period. Many factors go into determining how much the spousal support will be and its duration. One issue that many might not be aware of is the possibility that the court will order the prospective supported spouse to take part in an examination with a vocational training counselor. Understanding what the law says about this possibility is important to a case.

In the examination, the counselor will assess the person's capabilities to gain employment that would let that person maintain the lifestyle from the standard of living during the marriage. This is only allowable when there is good cause and is done by motion. The party will be given notice as to the examination as will other parties. The location, conditions, what will be covered and more will be specified.

The counselor will be someone who has sufficient skill, knowledge, training, experience and education to gauge the tests to analyze the person's skills, goals, training and study - along with the job market - to be considered an expert. The counselor must have: a master's degree in behavioral sciences; the qualifications to analyze the person's career opportunities; the ability to conduct interviews to assess the person's marketable skills, health, prior education, experience and any constraints based on geography and time; understanding of the employment opportunities in the current climate; and knowledge of training and education programs in the area with costs and plans for that program.

The supporting spouse might be ordered to pay for the vocational counselor. Part of the determination of spousal support will be based on whether the spouse receiving support can eventually care for him or herself without it. A vocational counselor could be beneficial for both parties. Understanding how these divorce legal issues are handled is important and a law firm that knows what a vocational counselor does and what it will mean when there is this counseling is key to a divorce case.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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