If you're starting the process of divorce in South Carolina, you likely are beginning to realize just how much of the process revolves around money. How much is there, how much will there be in the future, whose is it, who needs it and finally, who gets what? One of the questions that many couples worry about the most is how they will support two households on the same amount of money.
This last question involves issue such as child support and alimony, and it depends a great deal on you and your spouse's current jobs. The question is not always as simple as how much money you each make today, but can instead involve more detailed questions of what is your earning potential and whether each of you is living up to that potential. To answer these questions, in addition to an attorney and a financial adviser, another expert, known as a vocational expert, can help determine what one's financial future might look like.
A vocational expert's job is to look at both your income and that of your spouse. While such an expert can be helpful in many different situations, it can be particularly important in cases where your spouse earns a high income and you fear that he/she might want to keep the money from you. In other words, the concern is that the high income-earning spouse will try to downplay his/her salary or future earning potential in the midst of a contentious divorce. This can occur by attempting to artificially lower one's salary by pushing bonuses to some later date, with an eye toward cutting you out of money you may be entitled to. In some extreme cases, a spouse could even quit their job as a way of trying to avoid paying alimony. Using a vocational expert could help you uncover the real income figure (or earning capacity) and prevent your spouse from muddying the waters of their true salary.
It's important to know that your significant other could also hire a vocational expert to look into your finances. If you're employed in a low-paying job but have a degree that could make you significantly more money, a vocational expert working for your spouse could make the case that you don't need as much alimony as you might want. Of course, since the facts of all Family Court cases vary widely, you should discuss these issues with your attorney to determine whether a vocational expert would be helpful in your particular case.
Source: “Four Reasons Why A Woman Needs A Vocational Expert On Her Divorce Team,” by Jeff Landers, published at Forbes.com.