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Medical Practice Divorces

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Divorce is a common legal battle that a number of folks have to go through during their lifetime. Like with every courtroom proceeding, nothing is as simple as it looks, and if you’re one of the many people who owns a medical practice and is seeking a divorce, things are bound to be more complicated than you might have originally thought.

Luckily, you can seek out the expertise and legal counsel of the Self Legal Group to help guide you through your divorce and what assets you should be able to preserve alongside those that you won’t be able to keep seperate. Unlike most folks, when a person who owns a medical practice gets divorced, it’s more complex, simply because the most valuable asset you have is that very medical practice. Since most doctors belong to a group of medical practitioners who own the practice together, this can, in some ways, make things more complex. Addressing the medical practice as an asset that must be preserved at the beginning of the divorce is one of the best decisions you can make, as it’ll make the proceedings along the way far easier to navigate.

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Evaluating the Practice

Like all of your assets during the divorce, you’ll need to have it evaluated. This process is often completed by your family law attorney. You’ll be asked a series of questions that helps calculate the value of the practice or your part in it. You’ll need to know the answer to simple questions that may require documentation. Be sure to gather the information you need to answer the following questions:

  • How was the practice originally funded?
  • Is it a group practice?
  • What kind of entity is the practice (i.e. LLC, S Corporation, etc.)
  • Will there be any potential future vesting of both ownership or stock that you may be entitled to after a divorce is finalized?
  • Has stock in the practice been issued to any of the participating physicians and partners?
  • And More

At this point, your attorney may send you to a qualified forensic accountant who can value the practice based on the tangible assets and the purely financial assets involved. This will include things like the office lease, the furniture, medical equipment and other business assets that you and your partners have in the practice. They’ll even factor in liabilities like any taxes that are still due, insurance costs, retirement plans and general loans used to fund the practice.

Once the practice is evaluated it’s important that you follow the legal counsel you’ve enlisted already or plan to enlist. Mistakes are often made on the part of medical professionals during a divorce that makes splitting the assets, including your business, a more complex situation. However, that’s all easily avoided by first hiring the right attorney to guide you through the process.

Medical Practice Divorce Mistakes

As with any legal proceedings, there are things you do and don’t do that extend beyond the boundaries of mere etiquette. While your lawyer will be able to steer you clear from making these mistakes, it’s crucial to ensure that you do not make them before you’ve sought out proper legal advice.

Hiring the Wrong Lawyer

It’s not unusual for physicians to often look to their existing corporate lawyer or even their health care counsel to represent them during a divorce, but this should often be avoided. While those lawyers may be experienced and excellent in the position you have them in, they likely don’t have the experience in matters of family law to protect your assets and represent you in the right way. Determining the character of a couple’s property as they go through divorce proceedings is complex and requires experience from both party’s lawyers to ensure there is a fair split of assets that truly belong to the individual, as well as the assets that belong to the couple.

Confidentiality Agreements

It seems like something that’s easy to slip through the cracks, but many physicians do not bother to insist upon a confidentiality agreement during divorce proceedings. These agreements act by limiting the disclosure of sensitive business information to parties outside of the business. This is important because it ensures that an expert retained by the soon-to-be ex-spouse cannot see sensitive information that pertains to the business when they’re attempting to create an evaluation that might challenge your own. Simple documents such as this that would come naturally to an experienced family lawyer that may be skipped over by an inexperienced counterpart, which is why it’s so important to invest in a lawyer that’s familiar with medical practice divorces, like those at the Self Legal Group.

Disclosing Incomplete Information

Telling your lawyer the incomplete story won’t do you any favors. In other words, if you choose to withhold any damaging personal or business information, you’re likely hindering how well your lawyer can do their job. At best this can result in slightly less fair rulings from the court; at its worst,it could prove disastrous for the case. Remember that your lawyer is on your side, and they are there solely to help you deal with damaging information, especially during legal proceedings as tenuous as divorce. If your lawyer knows about that information, they can create a strategy that helps you effectively address the information and formulate a strategy that deals with the nature of the information, rather than ignoring it and hoping it goes away of its own accord.

Understating or Overstating Value

On a similar note to telling your lawyer the incomplete story, you won’t want to present an evaluation that under values or over values your medical practice. The value of the practice, or your interest in the practice will be a contested issue in the divorce, which means it’ll be under intense scrutiny and any indescrepencies in the report will be caught. Don’t bring your honesty into question about such a valuable asset during a divroce, just tell the truth instead.

Your Spouse Could Receive Disproportionate Share of Properties

If enough of these mistakes are not avoided, a soon-to-be ex-spouse may be able to get a disproportionate amount of the assets. This often occurs due to the following instances:

  • Wasted community (shared) assets
  • Community or marital indebtedness
  • Benefits an “innocent spouse” would have had access to if the marriage had continued
  • Fraud committed by spouse
  • Needs of the child or children of the marriage
  • Need for future support
  • And more

Schedule a Consultation With Self Legal Group in Oklahoma City

Ensure that you’re backed by the legal council you need. Reach out to Self Legal Group today to organize an initial consultation. We’re here to make divorcing with your medical practice a less stressful experience. Contact us today to ask questions or get started.

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