Protecting your medical practice in a divorce

Doctors earn significantly more, in most cases than the average person on the street. The reason for this is multifaceted, but the result is that doctors have higher than average incomes. With that said, those taller than average revenues often come higher than average burdens when it comes to daily life from a financial standpoint. Many doctors have taken out loans throughout their education to go to school. Others have financed their way into purchasing a share of a medical practice that they belong to. At the same time, others have taken on consumer debt believing that they can out-earn any missteps they make from a financial standpoint.

Another factor that we need to consider is the likelihood that you, as a doctor, get divorced. We have all heard the statistic that half of all marriages in the united states end in divorce. Like any statistic that you hear, you first need to verify its accuracy. While it may be true that up to half of marriages end in divorce, there are specific benchmarks that you can reach that significantly reduce the likelihood of your wedding being a victim of this statistic. Basic measures like graduating from high school, being married before you have children, having stable employment, and having shared values with your spouse significantly reduced the likelihood of your marriage ending in divorce. This is true for physicians as well As for anyone else.

We also know about divorce that when a person remarries, the likelihood of divorce does seem to increase. For many people, getting a divorce is not a possibility. They will exhaust any remedy possible to avoid divorce. If you happen to marry a person who falls into the same category, your likelihood of getting a divorce is very low. However, once you begin to approach your marriage, with divorce being a possibility, the possibility of going to this option increases. When you go through with a divorce and can tell the tale from the other side of the case, then the steps of the case will be permanently ingrained into your mind. Divorce will always be an option for you at that point because you’ve already done it.

Getting a divorce as a physician carries with it burdens that many people do not have to face. There are financial concerns regarding divorce for every person who goes through this type of family law case. However, we see that physicians who go through divorce have even more significant financial stakes in play given they’re higher than average incomes. The more Community property at play in your marriage, the higher the likelihood that disagreements will arise. Splitting up a community estate valued at $100,000 is different than splitting up a community estate that’s valued at $10 million. There is 100 times more to fight about in that $10 million estate than in the $100,000 estate. The effects of having wealth can exponentially increase the drama in frustration associated with the financial aspects of a divorce.

Often, the property that a doctor loses in a divorce to their spouse was intended to go to children or other family members. You may have even created a will that had a particular estate plan for your passing that now needs to be changed given the results of a divorce case. To be sure, updating a will based on life circumstances is not anything foreign. However, having to do so because of a less than desirable result from a divorce can be extremely frustrating. Losing half of your medical practice and its value to an expose when he wanted that share to go to your son who is in college once he graduates and goes to medical school himself can be a bitter pill to swallow.

What can you do, then, to avoid the worst of outcomes in Texas divorces as a physician? Indeed, there is no one size fits all plan when it comes to thinking ahead in a divorce scenario. However, it is almost certainly the case that you are a forward-thinking individual who is highly analytical as a physician. Therefore, it would make sense if Would put some advanced thought into how to handle splitting up property in a divorce and possibly even shielding property as much as possible. This can all be accomplished with the help of an experienced family law attorney such as those with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan.

What are some worst-case scenarios for you to be aware of as you planned for your divorce?

Preparing for divorce will not be fun. However, as a physician, you know a thing or two about delayed pleasure and doing things you have to do before doing the things you want to do. For many people going through a divorce, delayed gratification is a foreign subject. Many people live their lives going from one thing to the other, seemingly only concerned about what is in it for them at that very moment. Being a doctor, I am confident that you are not that kind of person and instead can focus on doing what you need to do now so that you can do what you want to do later. With that said, let’s examine what can happen in a divorce without proper planning.

Suppose that you decided to get married for the second time in your late 40s. Your wife is also in her late 40s and has also been married previously. It wasn’t exactly your plan to marry one another, but after you dated for some time, it became apparent that this would be the next step for both of you. Each of you has adult children from your prior marriages with no minor children at home. Many of the concerns of raising a family, putting kids through college, and things of that nature are not relevant in your circumstance.

If you are speaking with an experienced family law attorney, the attorney may recommend that you consider negotiating either a premarital or marital property agreement. This type of document allows for both of you to arrange through many if not all of the most significant financial considerations that you may encounter in a divorce. Things like spousal support, community designation versus separate property, and dividing up the community estate can all be hashed out in a premarital or marital property agreement. The only difference between the two documents is that one is created before your marriage while the other is created while you are married.

A premarital property agreement and a marital property agreement are sort of like a will in that they only have a legal effect upon one of your deaths or divorce period before either of those events; the document would hold no value. However, if you move to get a divorce, the premarital or marital property agreement must be attached to the original petition for divorce and filed through other court documents. The deal would instruct the judge on how to rule in whatever areas were touched on in your premarital or marital property agreement.

These types of agreements can be significant for physicians. As discussed a moment ago, position divorces tend to be more difficult for spouses simply because there is more to argue about. Having to negotiate through the complex and extremely sensitive subject matter with the person you already disagree with on fundamental issues. The great thing about a premarital or marital property agreement is that you would have already negotiated through these subjects when you and your spouse were not at each other’s throats. You would be able to. Two, the premarital or marital property agreement and have that included as an exhibit to your original petition and ultimately to your final divorce decree. This would take a lot of air out of the room and could help you all focus on those things that are most important.

For the sake of having a more interesting discussion in this blog post, let’s assume that you did not have a premarital or marital property agreement. Let’s take that your wipes separate property rental home had been titled into your name in this situation. This was done at the suggestion of your accountant to provide your family with some income tax savings. Your marriage lasted for about two years before storm clouds appeared on the horizon. After this point, it was clear that a divorce would be filed by one of you. Ultimately, my divorce is filed. It doesn’t matter which one of you filed the divorce.

In our hypothetical example, let’s assume that you receive half of the rental properties previously owned as separate property by your wife. This could happen if you and your wife cannot negotiate your way through issues related to separate property and have to instead go before a judge to have him play a tiebreaker. All the while, both you and your wife could be aware that it was the plan all along to have these income-producing properties go to your wife’s adult children in her will. Even with this understanding, a judge cannot perform this type of action in a divorce trial. It is much more likely that he would split the properties in half, giving half of them to you in half of them to your spouse.

Next, let’s think about a situation where you marry your wife immediately after medical school. The marriage is each of your first times getting married. As you progress in your medical practice, you acquire more ownership in the training you are working with. You started working for your father, who was a doctor, as well. He founded the medical practice and has been transferring business shares to you for over 20 years. Before you knew it, you looked up and were in your mid-40s and were the majority owner of this successful medical practice.

Unfortunately, you and your wife filed for divorce from one another. Acquired during your marriage are Community property. This means that they are subject to division in a divorce. Your spouse, who is not a doctor, now owns half of your privileges in the business. She can then decide how the company operates, what opportunities it takes advantage of, and which ones it does not need another significant financial consideration. What if your ex-wife indeed had it out for you and, after the divorce, refused to sell her shares of the business to you or one of your partners? What harm could occur to you and your practice as a result of this situation?

Finally, let’s consider you as a young resident who is in the process of selecting a field to focus on in terms of your medical career. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that you choose to work in orthopedics. You and your fiance eventually get married. At which time, you and your wife discuss your education as a doctor. Ultimately, you come to agree that you should not have to pay your wife even though she contributed a great deal to your family from a financial standpoint while you were attending medical school in completing your residency. However, it is possible that a court could rule otherwise, even going so far as to say that your medical degree is Community property and that your wife could claim a share of that in terms of earning potential. Even an oral agreement between you and your spouse may not be enough to save your community share of this salary.

More on how using a premarital agreement could save you from these circumstances.

As we’ve seen, there are ways that the divorce can go sideways for a position. However, this is not a foregone conclusion for you. Instead, you can think ahead, especially if you are not yet married currently or are at the beginning stage of your relationship. Me a premarital property agreement, there’s not do anything to push people towards a divorce. Instead, it goes a long way towards helping to avoid conflict if a divorce occurs.

A premarital property agreement is a contract between you and your fiance. As discussed earlier, a premarital property agreement specifies how property will be divided once you and your spouse get divorced. Additionally, personal property and income can also be included in this discussion. Whether it is the money in your bank account or any piece of personal property that your spouse owned, the premarital property agreement can certainly help when it comes to dividing property before the divorce.

A premarital property agreement cannot do anything illegal or anything that has to do with future children. Since you likely do not have any children with their spells, you cannot anticipate or assume their needs from child support or child custody perspective. Therefore, only financial issues can be contained in a premarital or marital property agreement. How you and your spouse to be committed to one another is entirely up to you. However, a premarital property agreement is good for physician families to do the higher than average well think your family probably has. new

A premarital property agreement must be in writing and must be signed by both parties. It would help if you had witnesses verify that they saw you sign the document, and it is a good idea for you to have the premarital property agreement signed and notarized. This king help negate arguments related to duress, fraud, or forgery. Simply having a notary sign the document can help avoid situations like this.

Another aspect of a premarital property agreement that physicians must know is that you all need to be transparent when disclosing information about your relationship. For instance, while you and your spouse will almost certainly not engage in discovery type of document seeking, you need to be able to share the extent of your financial dealings with your fiance before negotiating through the final stages of your premarital property agreement creation. This way, there can be no bad faith claims made against you moving forward.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog posts, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are an excellent way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.


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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, KingwoodTomballThe Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris CountyMontgomery CountyLiberty County, Chambers CountyGalveston CountyBrazoria CountyFort Bend County, and Waller County.

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