Are you a physician or the former spouse in a San Diego divorce involving a doctor? It may surprise you to learn doctors have one of the lowest divorce rates as a professional here in the US. However, doctors get divorced. The life of a doctor is demanding. Physicians save lives, help people to manage significant health challenges while maintaining busy schedules. You would be surprised how COVID-19 has affected the daily life and practice of a doctor.
All of these things can unfortunately take a toll on a marriage. A San Diego divorce involving a doctor is often more difficult than most. The business portion of the practice of medicine usually involves ownership in a healthcare entity, group or private practice. This ownership interest is usually part of community property in a divorce. Community property is to be divided evenly between the parties in a San Diego divorce. If you are a doctor facing a divorce it is important for you to seek the experienced advice and sound counsel of the Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq.
The first questions will be what type of medical entity do you own a part of and was it established during the course of the marriage? The type of entity and all associated corporate documents such as a buy/sell agreement must be analyzed. The Court will not be swayed by an artificial clause in the corporate documents which attempts to limit the value of your ownership position. This can be a good opening negotiating position, but a comprehensive external expert valuation will be required in most cases.
Valuation must take several factors into consideration. Valuation will consider income, your position in the entity, future vesting of stock or deferred income will need to be fully disclosed. The valuation must also consider the value of “Goodwill” which can be quite subjective and intangible. Goodwill considers your reputation as a physician and the likelihood that the practice will maintain current performance or grow.
The valuation expert will often verify income and look into disbursements by the practice to see if each ownership position is being paid a comparable or fair amount.
Ultimately a physician must offset their spouse’s community interest in the practice or healthcare entity as part of the community property settlement.
This is why it is so important to contact the experienced Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq. We have extensive experience in these cases and provide sound counsel and strategy for our clients. You have a lot of interests to protect. There are multiple complex legal issues, not to mention the emotional component of any divorce.