What are the primary issues when doctors divorce in North County San Diego? Like most, child custody and parenting time is a primary concern when the couple share a children. However, one of the central issues in a physician’s divorce will also be the valuation and division of their interest in a professional practice.
Many physicians insist upon a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage. However, even in the event of a prenup, if one spouse gave up their own career to support a physician or worked within the practice at less than standard pay, that spouse may be entitled to a share of the physician’s ownership interest.
When doctors divorce in Carlsbad, the Court will focus on specific property division issues:
- Is the asset community property, separate property or a blend of both?
- What is the value of each asset (especially the medical practice interest)
- How will the community property be divided?
Most physicians are members of a Professional Corporation, group practice or a partnership. The practice itself may attempt to falsely establish the value of a physician’s interest in the practice through a buy/sell agreement or other mechanism within the corporate documents. This will not pass the review of the Court. Facts must be gathered, including but not limited to:
- Did the physician start or join the practice during the course of the marriage?
- How was the practice or Professional Corporation funded?
- Were marital funds used to support or commingled with the practice?
- How will valuation of the ownership interest be established?
- What is the valuation of the physician’s ownership position?
- Is there any future vesting of ownership or stock?
It will also be necessary to review the books of the practice itself. Some professionals who foresee a divorce attempt to manipulate their income. It may be necessary to forensically review the practice records to compare the incomes of all similar professionals to ensure there is no effort to misrepresent income.
Only physicians are allowed to own an interest in a medical practice or group here in California. Therefore, the spouse’s community property interest in the practice must be “offset” by other assets, accounts or a secured financial instrument.
When doctors divorce in North County San Diego they need an experienced Certified Family Law Specialist who will protect their financial interests while accomplishing the physician’s goals and objectives within the divorce. We invite you to review the strong recommendations of our clients and the legal industry and contact Burke & Domercq or call 760-434-3330 to schedule an appointment.