Though all divorces have their complexities, when a physician divorces, it can be doubly complicated. Many physicians are part of a group practice, which can be difficult to sort out for the purposes of dividing assets. Physicians in Virginia should keep the following points in mind when going through a divorce.
For most doctors, their share of the group practice is their most significant financial asset. Determining the correct value of the medical practice can be complicated and may come down to a battle of experts. It’s important to know the basic facts about the practice, such as when it was established, what kind of practice it is, how it was funded and if there are stock options. A forensic accountant will look at these issues as well as income, expenses and liabilities to determine the value of the practice. Additionally, they will examine the income and benefits of the other partners to ensure that the divorcing partner is claiming everything they are entitled to and not trying to hide income. The other partners may need to be notified of the impending divorce since it could impact them as well.
Some practices include provisions for forfeiting stock in the event of a divorce. If the divorcing partner is able to buy back in after the divorce is completed, their spouse may object. Often, experts will disagree as one forensic accountant values the practice very differently than the other. It is typically worth hiring your own financial expert and not letting your soon-to-be-ex-spouse’s expert go unchallenged since they will be seeking the best outcome for themselves.
Given the complicated nature of valuing such an important asset as a medical practice, a physician may seek out the advice of a lawyer experienced in family law. An attorney may be able to advise you on the best possible course of action to protect your assets during this difficult time.