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How vocational issues can affect spousal support discussions

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2024 | Family Law

Divorce proceedings often involve discussions about spousal support.

The duration of the marriage, the standard of living and the spouses’ ages and health play a role. So do vocational considerations.


One key consideration is the employability of each spouse. Courts may evaluate the skills, education and work experience of the nonearning or lower-earning spouse. The goal is to determine their ability to secure gainful employment and contribute to their financial well-being.

Education and training

The level of education and ongoing training also holds significance. Courts may assess whether the non-earning spouse requires additional education or training to enhance employability. This consideration ensures a fair evaluation of the potential for future financial independence.

Work history and employment gaps

Employment gaps or periods of part-time work may impact the earning capacity of the spouse seeking support. Courts may weigh these factors to make equitable decisions.

Health and disabilities

Health conditions and disabilities can significantly affect vocational capabilities. For example, about 65.4% of people without disabilities have employment, while 21.3% of people with a disability do.  Courts may consider the impact of any physical or mental health issues on a spouse’s ability to maintain employment and financial self-sufficiency.

Market conditions

The current job market and economic conditions also play a role in spousal support discussions. Courts may consider the availability of suitable employment opportunities for each spouse based on their qualifications and market demand.

Contribution to household and career sacrifices

Recognizing the non-earning spouse’s contributions to the household and potential career sacrifices is important. Courts may factor in the sacrifices made during the marriage that impacted professional development.

Future earning capacity

In spousal support negotiations, the focus goes beyond immediate employability to future earning capacity. Courts may project the potential income growth for each spouse and consider factors such as career advancements and market trends.

By evaluating various factors, courts aim to establish a fair and equitable framework that acknowledges the individual circumstances of each spouse post-divorce.