Physician Divorce Attorneys in Houston
It is a long-standing assumption that physicians' divorce rate is high because of long hours and high stress. However, there have been no large-scale studies to support this. In fact, past studies have primarily focused on small sample groups or institutions. Since those studies, statistics show the divorce rate among physicians has dropped more than 25%.
The best way to evaluate divorce among physicians is to look at each specialty individually. For example, psychiatrists and surgeons, when surveyed, had a higher rate of divorce than other specialists. If you are pursuing a divorce and need legal counsel, don't hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC.
Call us at (281) 810-9760 to set up an appointment today.
Are Divorce Cases Different for Physicians?
Divorce cases are generally not affected by the occupation of one or both spouses. The significant difference for physicians is if they own a medical practice. Without a premarital agreement in place, your spouse is entitled to a share of your practice in a divroce. This does not mean that they are entitled to the practice itself but rather the practice's value.
The concept of equitable distribution is what could create an issue concerning the medical practice during a divorce. This part of the divorce process determines what property is communal and what is separate. Property being anything bought or sold is subject to equitable distribution. Typically, it is clear what is joint or separate property.
Communal property is anything jointly owned or purchased. This can include earnings of both spouses during the marriage as well as debt. Houses, cars, pension plans, businesses, and bank accounts are all considered communal if purchased or earned during the marriage. There are some exceptions, but generally, the joint property is owned equally by both spouses.
Separate property is what you or your spouse bought or earned before your marriage or after finalizing the divorce. This can also include items gifted to one spouse. If you inherit property, but you do not inherit it jointly, it is considered separate.
Division of a Medical Practice
Even if you purchased your practice before your marriage, it is subject to division during a divorce. if purchased during the marriage, shares of a partnership and ownership are subject to division. The key to an equitable division of medical practices is calculating value. The value of the practice is the most commonly used metric for dividing a business. A business valuation will most likely be a part of the divorce process. This involves making a distinction between tangible and intangible property. Tangible refers to physical assets, like a building or equipment, whereas intangible assets are intellectual property and goodwill services. Accounts receivable may also be considered intangible.
Goodwill refers to the practice's ability to generate referral business, a favorable reputation, and legacy. It is challenging to calculate goodwill in terms of a medical practice. Often, evaluators determine goodwill with quantifiable facts related to the practice. If the practice is not dependent upon the doctor's reputation or services, the value of goodwill is higher.
Standard Methods of Division for a Medical Practice
Many divorce cases involving a doctor who owns a private medical practice reach resolution through a settlement. Settlements can be related to several factors, but often, in a physician's case, the compensation may include a buyout for a portion of the practice's value. This could mean that the settlement comes in one lump sum payment or a structured payment schedule. It can also mean that a spouse or dependent could be the recipient of other assets like real property. Every situation is different, however, and each spouse may have different expectations for the outcome.
What Else Is Subject to Equitable Distribution?
Property that may be subject to equitable distribution includes pension plans, earnings, and retirement. Even if you have a private medical practice owned separately for physicians, the profits you accrued during the marriage are subject to distribution. Your spouse may also be entitled to your retirement and pension plans. In particular, pension plans are incredibly tedious to divide and require the advice of a qualified attorney. Call us at (281) 810-9760.
Considerations for Physicians
If you are a physician in the middle of the divorce process or seek to file, you should keep a careful record of your financial earnings and investments. When determining communal and separate property, it is vitally important that you have evidence of what you believe to be individual property. Accountants or fiduciaries may be able to help you calculate the value of your practice. Qualified lawyers should also be a consideration. The help of an experienced attorney can go a long way toward protecting your practice and entitlements.
Helping Physicians File for Divorce in Houston
Are you a physician seeking to file for divorce? Or, are you seeking to file for divorce as the spouse of a physician? Choose a team you can trust. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC strives to provide the highest quality legal service to our clients. Attorney Fagan himself is an elected member of the College of the State Bar of Texas and our firm as a whole is accredited by The Better Business Bureau. Don't hesitate to contact an experienced attorney today.