Doctor’s Divorce Lawyer in CA
The Right Knowledge to Protect Your Unique Interests in California
Physicians face some specialized complications when they divorce. The intricate details of compensation plans and obligations of physician contracts differ from those in other professions or areas of business. Divorce complications multiply for physicians with an ownership interest in their professional practices.
If you are a physician or divorcing a doctor, it is important to work with a divorce attorney who understands the complexities and is prepared to take all the right steps to protect your interests. At Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC, our experienced team of Certified Family Law Specialists understand how to anticipate potential difficulties and develop plans that provide the full benefits you deserve.
Community Property Issues for Physicians and Their Spouses
Some of the most complicated and hotly-contested issues in divorce involve the process of dividing property. When assets are classified as marital property, they are divided equally under California’s community property laws. Assets acquired during the marriage are community property even if they were earned or purchased entirely by one spouse.
By contrast, assets that are considered separate property are not divided but kept by one spouse. Separate property usually includes assets one spouse received as a gift or inheritance or property owned before the marriage. However, assets that start out as separate property can turn into jointly-owned marital property depending on how they were used during the course of the marriage.
That means it is important for you to make sure your divorce lawyer has all the details about your property so that your legal team can make the best arguments to show why your separate property should be kept separate, and why you deserve a share of property that could be either community property or your spouse’s separate property.
That includes salary and benefits and possibly the value of the medical practice itself.
How Will the Medical Practice Be Handled in Divorce?
There are many factors that affect how a medical practice is treated during the divorce process. If a divorcing physician has partners in the business, that will complicate the issues financially but it may make it easier to preserve the profitable operation of the practice during the divorce process. It is crucial to look at any foundational documents, such as a partnership agreement, to see if there are business succession plans that address what happens when one partner divorces.
Equally important, you need to let your attorney know if you have a pre-or postnuptial agreement that addresses property division. Often professionals will execute an agreement specifying what will happen to their practice during the course of the relationship and at the end of the marriage.
If there are no contracts, the medical practice could be treated like a business. If both spouses contributed to the value of the practice in some way during the time they were married, then they are both likely to be awarded some part of the value as a share of marital property. A spouse does not have to have actually worked for the practice to be considered to have supported it. Keeping up the home while the other spouse worked is often considered to be a contribution to the success of a business.
Dividing the Value of a Medical Practice
The process of dividing a medical practice in divorce involves two crucial stages. First, the practice must be valued accurately. At Holstrom, Block & Parke, we work with experienced valuation experts who understand how to account for tangible and intangible factors that affect value, as well as liabilities that need to be taken into consideration.
Once the practice has been valued, and the portion of the practice that is considered community property is determined, then it is time to devise a plan to allocate each spouse’s share of that value. We can review numerous options and also bring in experts to develop a plan for continued operation without disruption during and after the divorce.
Plans for Spousal Support and Child Support
When a spouse who operates a professional practice or business will be paying support, it becomes crucial to assess that spouse’s income in an accurate and fair manner. Spouses who operate their own enterprises have opportunities to “hide” income and assets. However, they are also sometimes loaded with unrealistic support obligations that fail to take account the expenses of operating the business.
Our experienced team works to ensure that support amounts are fair and reasonable under the specific circumstances of your case.
Let the Divorce Attorneys at Holstrom, Block & Parke Protect Your Future
While our dedicated family law attorneys cannot always make divorce an easy process, we work hard to ensure that it is a fair process and that you receive every advantage to which you’re entitled. Your separate property should remain with you, and you deserve the right share of marital property. We will make sure the court hears every argument in favor of your objectives.
We understand the challenges that physicians and their spouses face during divorce, and we know how to protect the full range of your interests. Schedule a consultation with us now to learn more about how we can help.