Q&A: Who Pays for Experts in a Divorce Case? What is a Vocational Expert?

Who pays for experts (such as a vocational expert) in a divorce action?

The short answer is it depends. Either spouse can hire their own experts. The judge could order experts. Sometimes spouses just use a joint expert (although this is usually not recommended). It all depends. Not all divorce cases require an expert. There are many cases where no experts are used whatsoever.

The spouse with the money (usually the husband) will likely pay more than his fair share of expert fees. Parties in a divorce case can end up paying a bunch of different experts for all sorts of expert testimony in a divorce. This includes asset locators, custody evaluator, real estate appraiser, forensics accountant, vocational expert to name a few.

In the latter case, the vocational expert, it may be the least common one employed but could be a very useful member of your team. The vocational expert evaluates the vocational capabilities of a spouse. That is, their job/career options. This is useful to know because for a spouse who has to pay maintenance and child support, knowing if the recipient of the alimony and child support could find work if they really wanted to is an enormous advantage and something the court should know in vivid details that only a vocational expert can provide by using questionnaires, interviews and other data to properly analyze someone who has probably been out of the workforce for an extended period of time. The fact that a person has been out of the workforce does not mean that he or she could not find work if needed. So income can be imputed to him or her based on the findings of the vocational expert. It could be a good expert to have on your team.