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Could you benefit from a vocational expert during your divorce?

Most people know that the first step to a successful divorce settlement is finding a good attorney. But in recent years departing spouses have been calling in other experts as well. A therapist can help you though the emotional aspects of your divorce. A mediator can keep costs down by working with spouses to reach a fair settlement out of court. And for those concerned about alimony and future income problems, a vocational expert may be just the person you need.

Vocational experts can help in a number of ways. First, consider the income breakdown when couples divorce and move apart. If one of the parents gave up a paying job to raise children, he or she will need to find a new source of income. This parent, who is in most cases the mother, can call on the expert to help her find a new career that will bring in the amount of money she needs to support herself and her children.

But a vocational expert can also be extremely helpful when it comes to ensuring you get the alimony to which you're entitled. Often if one spouse earns a significantly higher income than the other, he or she will attempt to downplay that difference to avoid paying more alimony or child support. Some people have even sought a lower-paying job during their divorce for this purpose. A vocational expert will be able to objectively analyze your spouse's true earning power.

Bear in mind that your spouse may retain a vocational expert of his own, especially if you're requesting alimony. He may request an evaluation to determine your earning power, because if you can earn more, he will pay less in spousal support. In this case, it helps to have someone who can provide another professional opinion to the court.

Both of you may want to gain a financial advantage when it comes to support payments. By retaining an objective expert, you can avoid some of the common emotional battles associated with battles over alimony and child support.

Source: Forbes, "Four Reasons Why A Woman Needs A Vocational Expert On Her Divorce Team," Jeff Landers, Oct. 24, 2012

· Our firm is experienced in matters of alimony, child support and many other family law issues. To learn more about our practice, visit our Dallas divorce and property division page.

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