Picture of Nancy J. Bickford

Physical or Mental Examinations

Physical or Mental Examinations

Often in San Diego family law cases the most disputed issues are child support and spousal support. Under California law, both parents are required to support their children. However, during marriage, it is not uncommon for one spouse to spend a significant amount of time developing and building a career while the other takes care of the home and children. The homemaker may also have a part time job but typically he or she did not have the time to actively pursue a high-paying job.

Therefore, judges often have to walk a fine line to determine how much a caretaker-spouse should contribute to both his or her support and the support of the parties’ children while still keeping in mind the best interest of the children. For example, should a judge order the primary caretaker to work full time for minimum wage (and presumptively put the kids in day care) while the bread-winning spouse can easily support all parties?

It is also not uncommon for a spouse to earn a minimal income because he or she has health conditions which prevent him or her from entering the workforce full time and earning more money. These two issues collide when a homemaker begins to claim in a divorce proceeding that he or she cannot work because of a particular health condition, disability or injury.

If a party is physically unable to work, a San Diego family court will take that fact into consideration when awarding permanent child and spousal support. One of the most important facts for the court to consider when making a child or spousal support award is the income of both parties. If one party is unemployed, the court may impute an income based on his or her ability to become employed and work opportunities available in the area.

Physical or Mental ExaminationsA dispute can arise between the parties when one spouse disagrees with any health, disability or injury claims from the other spouse. In order to resolve this conflict, the parties can stipulate (agree) that the injured spouse undergo an independent medical examination (“IME”).

An IME is the best way of evaluating the injured spouse’s condition and determining if a valid health condition, disability or injury exists which limits the spouse’s ability to work.

If the injured spouse refuses to voluntarily undergo an IME, the other party can obtain a court order for the same. In order for the requesting party to be successful, he or she must show “good cause” for an IME. Typically, in a divorce case where support is disputed, if a party contends he or she is unable to work this will constitute “good cause” for an IME.

Read reviews of Nancy Bickford and the divorce lawyers at the firm, or contact The Law Offices of Nancy J. Bickford, APC at (858) 793-8884 if you are considering consulting with a divorce lawyer. Ms. Bickford is the only lawyer in San Diego County representing clients, who is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) and who is actively licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Whether you are curious about property division in divorce, or have questions regarding premarital agreements, don't settle for less when determining your rights.