In a divorce case, it is important to determine the earning abilities of the parties in order to calculate spousal support and child support. If both parties work to their full abilities, then their current income will be used for calculating child support and spousal support. However, if either spouse is underemployed or unemployed, then the court will need to analyze that spouse's earning potential or ability.
Generally, a vocational expert will be retained to evaluate the work history, education and training of the underemployed spouse. Further, the vocational expert will research the available potential employment positions in the spouse's geographic area. The vocational expert will determine the income that the spouse could earn if that spouse maximized his/her earning ability.
After reviewing the facts of the case, the court will then determine whether it is appropriate to impute income to the underemployed spouse for the purposes of calculating spousal support and child support.
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