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Importance of a Vocational Assessment during the Pandemic and Recovery

The global pandemic has drastically impacted employment opportunities and earning capacities for millions of Americans, which makes determining spousal and child support obligations a bit more complicated during a divorce. In the article below, Soma McCandless and local family law attorneys explain why a Vocational Expert can be a valuable resource during these unprecedented times.

This article was posted in LinkedIn on February 26, 2021. Link to article

Getting a vocational assessment early can help your divorce case.

Today’s world is filled with uncertainty.  When will schools open and stay open? Will stores run out of toilet paper again? Will it be safe to go to my family reunion this summer? In a divorce case, getting a vocational assessment done early takes the guesswork out of one big thing, earning capacity. 


In a vocational assessment, an expert examines a client's whole story (i.e., education, experience, health) and determines the opportunities and salary range that are an appropriate match to their background. Salary ranges, also referred to as earning capacity, are used in calculating long-term spousal and child support. This can help settle big items in a divorce case and save both time and money in court fees. An assessment shows the court a proactive plan and sets in place realistic expectations for everyone involved.


“Particularly in light of COVID-19, having a qualified expert examine the impact of the pandemic on a party’s earning capacity is critical to getting an accurate picture for any support analysis,” says Senior Counsel at Hoover Krepelka LLP, Karlina Paredes, Esq.


The pandemic has changed our world in countless ways, but there are still many industries that are thriving. Vocational experts can help someone who has lost work or lost hope find a new direction. As technology continues to change at warp speed, experts can help technology professionals identify their transferable skills and find a new path. Going through an assessment process early can help a supported spouse gain confidence and make a future career plan before pressure mounts in the case.  An assessment can help a supporting spouse have hope for the future. Plus, the expert’s report often serves as a catalyst to getting a case moving.


“Accusations of one or both parties being unemployed or under-employed, or otherwise failing to earn at their 'highest earning capacity,' are common sources of conflict in family law matters whenever child support or spousal support (alimony) are at issue. Consulting an expert early can help you understand the importance of these issues, and where your strengths and weaknesses lie. A vocational expert can help your attorney and you control the conversation and be out in front of areas of potential conflict, rather than in a reactive position,” says Hoover Krepelka LLP Partner, Travis Krepelka.


Most vocational experts have experience with clients working part-time, stay-at-home parents, and with those experiencing domestic violence, mental health concerns, layoffs, and extended career breaks. They work hard to keep a pulse on the labor market in today’s ever-changing world. If you are considering a divorce, a proper assessment now can evaluate current and future earning capacity, avoiding one potential battle and keeping your upcoming case moving forward.

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Soma McCandless Vocational Consulting


1030 El Camino Real, #405, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

Email: info@somamccandless.net | Phone: 408-412-1307