The economy has made determination of earning capacity a much more difficult analysis. People both in and out of the job market are being forced to take cuts in pay or to alter their job requirements and plans. The question is whether or not maintenance calculations should be based on what a person actually earns or should be based on a person’s earning potential or earning capacity based on that person’s education, experience, qualifications and job marketability. It is not enough to look at past W-2s or paychecks. The economy plays a role.
In this writer’s opinion, earning capacity is not merely the job for which the person is qualified, but also the job the person can actually obtain in today’s job market. Earning capacity has been defined as “not an amount which a person can theoretically earn, nor is it combined to actual income, but rather it is an amount which a person can realistically be expected to earn considering vocational skills, age and health.” Availability of jobs is also a significant factor.