Determining Disability - Independent Medical Evaluation
Oftentimes a spouse will present a non-specific claim of disability for "stress" or "depression," and this condition prevents them from returning to the workplace.
In some cases, there may be a valid disability. However, the disability may only impact certain types of employment or not create a limit at all. For instance, someone who has a back injury may not be able to lift heavy boxes but may be able to work at a computer terminal.
In order to obtain an independent medical examination, you have to file a motion and show good cause to have a physical or mental examination of the other party.
Obtaining an Independent Medical Evaluation
In many cases, it's recommended that you obtain an Independent Medical Evaluation (IME) regarding your spouse's medical condition to see what limitations exist, if any. These are different than vocational training consultations, which also apply only in dissolution cases. Vocational training consultations are used to determine your spouse's ability to return to the workforce and earn income. These are especially common when a spouse has been unemployed or has been out of the job market for some time. The purpose of such a vocational assessment is to determine the ability of the supported spouse to return to the work-force and earn income so that they don't need as much child support or spousal support.
In order to obtain such an examination, you have to file a motion and show good cause to have a physical or mental examination of the other party. In the right case, this can produce significant information. However, it is a costly form of discovery in that the examining physician or professional has to be paid.
Consult with your California divorce lawyer to determine if an IME is an appropriate action to pursue in your case. The attorneys at Dishon & Block can pair you with the necessary experts and help you properly interpret the results of an IME.
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