Following Through: How a Vocational Expert Can Support A Spouse in Finding Employment

The traditional role of a vocational expert in a divorce matter is to evaluate the talents and experience of a spouse, conduct a labor market analysis, and opine on their employability and earning capacity for consideration in determining spousal maintenance and/or child support.

By providing these analyses and conclusions, vocational experts play a valuable role in the divorce process. However, by following through and utilizing this information as a basis for assisting a spouse in securing a new job, they can play a more important role in supporting the well-being of the family moving forward.

Vocational evaluators who have a strong understanding of the career transition process including how to plan and implement effective job search campaigns can bring a high level of efficiency in helping a spouse find a new job. This is especially valuable to a spouse who has been out of the job market for an extended period of time and needs to locate employment as soon as possible.

Here are three steps to planning and implementing a Job Search Campaign that a vocational expert can assist with:

1. Career Assessment and Objective Setting

In the vocational evaluation during divorce proceedings, an expert gathers information and then evaluates a spouse’s education, interests, skills, knowledge, and experience to determine what career options are the best fit. Then they conduct a labor market analysis to assess the likelihood that an individual can get a job, and what they can expect to earn, both immediately and in the long term. By continuing to work with the individual to focus on career objectives that match their talents and interests, a vocational expert helps the individual to effectively concentrate on a realistic career direction

2. Written and Verbal Communication

Once the career objective has been established, it’s time to write a resume along with creating other communication tools to broadcast one’s talents and interests to the job market. A vocational expert can help the job seeker create a strong message that shows how their talents can contribute to the success of organizations.

Verbal communications include brief (30 and 60 second) personal branding statements to effectively introduce themselves in networking situations. Preparing for job interviews includes anticipating what questions a prospective employer will ask as well as creating a list of questions that the candidate wants to ask the employer.

3. Effective Sources of Job Leads

After career objectives have been set and communications tools have been developed, the job seeker is ready to use a number of sources to identify job leads. Surveys show that networking to develop referrals into perspective employers is still the best way to find a new career opportunity, so specific emphasis is placed on how to identify referral sources, develop relationships and get introduced to hiring managers. The Internet has revolutionized the job search process, so learning how to use it effectively to research companies, support networking strategies, identify job postings, and submit applications is also important.

By following through to support a spouse in planning and developing an effective job search campaign, the vocational expert can assume an expanded role in ensuring a positive outcome to the divorce process.

Bradford H. Taft, MBA, CMF, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CFLC is Managing Director of Taft Vocational Experts, a Scottsdale-based vocational evaluation and career consulting firm specializing in providing expert witness services in family and employment law. He is also Chief Career Strategist of Taft Career Group, an outplacement and career transition consulting firm. He has over 30 years of experience in career counseling, recruiting and human resources consulting. For more information, visit his website, or contact Brad at 480-315-0372,


About Oliver Ross

Oliver Ross, JD*, PhD founded Out-of-Court Solutions Inc. in 1995 and since then has mediated over 3,000 divorce and family matters. He is a select member of the Maricopa Superior Court Family Mediation roster