In California, when a couple decides to divorce, a key factor in the settlement or court decision is spousal support, also referred to as alimony. The goal is for the supported spouse to maintain the standard of living that he or she had during the marriage. The spouse who is receiving support also bears certain responsibilities. A contribution or self-support is expected after a certain time-period and it is important for the court to understand how soon this can begin and what level of self-reliance the person can achieve.
If the court needs more information as to the supported spouse's capabilities, an examination conducted by a vocational training counselor might be ordered. In this examination, the person will be assessed to determine the ability to gain employment. Factors will include their skills, work history, age, health and how available employment is at the time. The main idea is to gauge whether the person can get employment so the marital standard of living can be maintained.
This order can only happen if there is a motion and there is good cause. In the order, there will be the time, place, conditions, the extent of the examination and the person who is making the examination. The counselor must be a master's degree or a postgraduate degree; be qualified to assess the person's career potential; have experience conducting interviews and assessing the skills of others with all the necessary categories covered; understand current employment circumstances; and understand education, training and its cost. The supporting spouse could be made to pay for the vocational counselor, the education or retraining.
The calculation of alimony can be complicated. If a person is deemed capable of working to provide support for him or herself, it will impact the amount that the former spouse is ordered to pay and the duration of the payments. A vocational counselor can be an important part of determining the monthly payment. It is a legal obligation to take part in the vocational counseling if it is ordered. For assistance in the determination of support and what to do if it is necessary to see a vocational counselor, a law firm experienced in alimony and family law can help.