Can my husband’s attorney force me to work a certain number of hours in our divorce and child custody case? 4 Answers as of January 30, 2011

My husband's attorney wants me to commit to working a certain number of hours and if I don't he threatens to ask the judge for a skills assessment for me. Also they have told me that my support and alimony #s will go down once orders are permanent-now they are temporary. Are these all control and scare tactics? As it is he pays for my having them 55%, when I actually have them 67%. What do you recommend? I am not opposed to working at all, I just don't have the time available right now. We live in California.

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Law Office of John C. Volz
Law Office of John C. Volz | John C. Volz
I would recommend contacting your own attorney. If your husband is employed and you are not, he would likely have to pay for your attorney. While your husband can request a vocational exam, there are several factors that a court will look at when assessing permanent support. Additionally, your attorney can assist you with the child support orders being based on the actual timeshare. Please contact our office for additional information.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/30/2011
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
No one can MAKE YOU WORK. They can input income. I can help you develop a plan to beat down their attack, if I have sufficient time. If you are interested you may contact me.

Since documents have been filed with the court it is very important that we speak as soon as possible, so I can evaluate your problem, and if hired protect all of your interests, hopefully without going to court.

The best way to contact me for an immediate response is for you to call.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
It appears from your question that you are not represented by counsel in the divorce.

It would be a good idea for you to retain an experiencedFamily Law Attorney to represent you in the divorce, for many reasons, one of which would be to insulate you from accessibility to your husband's attorney, another of which would be to provide you advice and counsel based on his education, training, experience and the facts of your case, another of which would be to assist you in making strategic decisions concerning the divorce case.

In the case of Marriage of LaBass and Munsie, the divorce court imputed income to the wife, a college professor who chose to work part-time so that she could spend more time with the minor children - where the husband's attorney submitted classified ads demonstrating that full time employment that was available to the wife. The Court in that case stated that the children re entitled to be supported by both parents.

I cannot tell from your question what you do for work, or how many hours you work per week, or what your hourly rate is, or whether additional hours of work are available to you, or what other activities make you unavailable to do additional work. These are matters that you would best address to your own Family Law Attorney, to obtain his advice and recommendations.

The "skills assessment" that you refer to is likely a Vocational Evaluation, which can be sought in any divorce case in which one party is unemployed, or arguably underemployed. Family Code Section 4331 addresses an Examination by a Vocational Training Consultant.

In a Vocational Evaluation, the expert evaluator tests, interviews,checks the employment history and transferable skills of the person being evaluated, and seeks and obtains anyinformation relevant to that person's employability, and then performs a labor market survey to determine what jobs are currently available, at what rate of pay,which that person is qualified for, as well as what additional education or training may be needed and how long that would take, to enable that person to work at a better job and higher rate of pay.

Typically, the Vocational Evaluator creates and submits a report to the attorney who retained the evaluator, or perhaps to both attorneys if so stipulated, and the evaluator may testify at a hearing or at trial. Income can be imputed to a party,based on his or her ability to work (i.e., education, training, experience, health etc.) and opportunity to work (i.e., jobs available for which that person is qualified). If income is imputed to a party, the imputed income can be used instead of actual income, for purposes of calculating and/or setting spousal and/or child support.

Also, the Uniform Support Guidelines apply both for temporary child support and for permanent Child Support (trial or case settlement child support). However, they only apply to temporary Spousal Support,which is intended to continue the "status quo" pending trial or settlement. Permanent Spousal Support is based on factors set forth in Family Code Section 4320, and usually is a bit less than temporary Spousal Support, but is fact-driven, so it could arguably be on the order of, or possibly higher than temporary Spousal Support in certain cases.

In connection with your receiving Child Support based on a timeshare which is not accurate or representative, it would appear that your husband's attorney took advantage of your not being represented by counsel, so you would best retain experienced Family Law Counsel, preferably a Certified Family Law Specialist,to represent your interests in the case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2011
Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law
Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law | Matthew E. Lax
While you cannot be physically forced to work, the court can impute income to you for purposes of calculating support if you are able to work and simply choose not to. However, lots of factors are relevant such as the ages of your children, your education and skill set, and your ability to work. If your husband is represented by an attorney then the best advise I can give would be to get an attorney for yourself so you know what your rights and duties are. Feel free to give me a call if you would like to seek representation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2011
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