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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 111681
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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I'm trying to decide if using a vocational assessor on my 53

Customer Question

I'm trying to decide if using a vocational assessor on my 53 yr old retired husband is worth it? 23 marriage, Calif. based. He is retired federal law enforcement DHS agent/Border Patrol agent.His only income is our community retirement asset. I am state employee, no skills other than clerical. 54 yrs, and currently struggling as I remain in the community home. he is cohabitating with an executive level earning partner, my bare household expenses not including food & gas are double his. I have been told that if I claim my half of retirement, I would end up paying him support. Yes, my income would be much higher based on the asset. However, he voluntarily retired at 48 yrs, is very healthy, and mutli-talented by his own admission, which is true. He currently does odd side jobs, is a welder, mechanic, and all around handyman.
Would a judge/commissioner assess unearned income in this case? Our plan was for me to retire at 55 (in 8 months) and now that he is collecting our community asset, I am only receiving $600 of the gross $6600 he is receiving monthly. I gross $4307, plus 600.
Should I pay for an evaluator? I don't want to spend the money if a judge will most say, "sorry, he retired, and is too old."
What should I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
I am sorry to say that a vocational assessor is just you throwing good money after bad. If he has legitimately retired, the court does not have to force him to return to work.
As part of the divorce the court will issue a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) for you to collect your share of his pension.
It is not necessarily true that if you claim your share of his pension that you would owe him spousal support, because he is entitled to a share of any pension you earned and you are entitled to any share of any pension he earned and that is all.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This answer doesn't help me.
I know he can't be forced to go back to work, but based on his age/retirement status, does California impute wages to offset support I may have to pay due to the retirement income being split and placing me at a higher income level than him? An attorney has told me I would have to pay support based on the figures in my first question which are exact. I am aware he will receive half my retirement also, but I am not retired yet- I expect to return to court for an adjustment as I will earn half of my W2 income. My concern is right now. Your answer implies they will honor his retired status which says to me I shouldn't expect imputation of unearned income on him to offset my unknown support amount at this time. What do judges normally do in my specific situation considering the type of income, our ages, and his retired status? Hope my question is clearer. Thanks.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
What will not help you is the vocational assessment.
CA will impute wages where someone is intentionally unemployed (they quit work to intentionally avoid support). However, if he has retired from a job he was entitled to retire from and is collecting his retirement, then they will not impute any income in that situation.
The court is going to honor his retirement in most situations and the attorney you spoke with who told you that you could have to pay support was telling you the worst situation, but in most cases like you describe the court will not award him support either if he is able bodied and able to work.

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