Is My Spouse Entitled to Half of My Medical Practice in Divorce?
Building a successful private medical practice in Florida takes a significant amount of time, money, and commitment. For some professionals, the process can take years; for others, it can take decades. No matter how long it took you though, if you have finally found success in private practice, you understand that there is no greater feeling.
On the other hand, if you own a successful private medical practice in Florida and are on the verge of getting a divorce, you understand that there is no worse feeling than knowing that you will have to split part of that practice with your former spouse. Why should they get part of your practice when they did nothing, and you did everything, to make it the successful practice that it is today? How is that fair?
While dividing your private medical practice may not seem fair to you now, the Florida courts have good reason for valuing and dividing healthcare practices. In Florida, both separate and marital estate that contributes to the marriage or that was used in direct support of the marriage – such as a business or medical practice – is considered marital property. Under Florida Statute §61.075, marital assets must be distributed equally.
Does this mean that my former spouse will now own half of my practice?
While Florida believes in dividing marital assets equally, they will not force you to co-own your medical practice with your ex-spouse, or to split it into two different business entities. In the hopes to keep businesses and professional practices intact and free from any claims or third-party interference, the Florida courts designate a value to all business entities, and determine a monetary amount to be awarded based off of what the business is worth. Once a value is determined, they may award you sole ownership of the practice and compensate your spouse by awarding them a larger share of the other marital assets, or they may force you to buy out your spouse’s interest in the business.
What if my practice was the only asset that we had?
In many instances, a thriving medical practice is the only valuable marital asset available for distribution. If this is the case for you and your former spouse, the judge may force you to liquidate some of your practice’s assets or cash in on some of your investments; however, if doing so will result in practice failure, the judge may have mercy and set up a payment schedule. The judge may give you months or even years to pay off your former spouse, depending on how long you need. In order to protect your former spouse’s share of the practice, they may place a lien on your business until his or her share is paid in full.
Consult A South Florida Divorce Attorney
At the Law Offices of Schwartz | White, we believe in protecting our clients’ assets in divorce. If you are the owner for a private Florida medical practice, and if you are concerned about keeping your business intact throughout the divorce, contact our Boca Raton family law attorneys. Our skilled lawyers can achieve an outcome that is favorable to both you and your former spouse, without compromising the integrity of your business. To schedule a consultation with one of our South Florida divorce attorneys, contact us at 561.391.9943 or online today.