What Makes Divorces Difficult for Doctors
Although some divorces can be straightforward, many others are not so simple or easy. When a doctor is involved, various elements can affect the divorce’s outcome or your approach to the process.
Whether you’re a doctor or you’re divorcing a doctor, the matter can be complicated by any of the following:
During a divorce, the parties will need to divide assets. Georgia is not a “community property” state; instead, marital assets and debts are distributed equally, based on equitable distribution of assets standards. Most splits will not just be 50-50.
In a doctor’s divorce, some high-value assets and considerable debt may be acquired throughout the marriage. Property in a marriage is either considered “marital” or “separate.” Marital assets are items or obligations acquired during a marriage and can be considered for distribution. Separate assets are typically assets or debts acquired before the marriage and are usually exempt from division, although there are some exceptions which an attorney can walk you through.
The distribution can be affected by when the property was purchased or when the marriage happened. If you were already practicing as a doctor and bought expensive items before marriage, they likely will not be considered marital property. However, if you were married before you began buying big-ticket items, your spouse may have some claim to them.
Your spouse might have a claim for more assets if they supported you as you earned your medical degree. A divorce lawyer is critical in helping you calculate what’s yours and how to fight for it.
Valuing the Medical Practice as an Asset
In a divorce, a spouse may be expected to give up ownership of a business as part of the asset division. For doctors, this can be difficult. Many jurisdictions won’t allow a non-physician to own a medical practice. If your spouse argues they need part of your practice but aren’t a physician, that option will not be viable.
Instead, your attorney should talk to you about other assets that could be exchanged in place of the practice, so the property division is still fair. Your divorce lawyer can help you calculate your practice’s value and explore what options you have.
Alimony or Spousal Support
In Georgia, alimony is designed to alleviate unfair financial hardship after a divorce for a spouse that makes less money. Spousal support is not mandatory. However, it may be awarded in cases where the lower-earning spouse is going to be impacted by a loss of income.
In cases involving doctors, it’s common that the non-physician spouse gives up time or work to maintain the household. If you are a doctor working long hours, your spouse likely had less opportunity to make money for the family so they could take care of it. That will be factored into the judge’s decision about alimony.
Child Custody or Support
Custody and child support are often the most contentious matters in divorces, and the issue can be exacerbated in a divorce involving a physician. Doctors often have extended hours and demanding jobs. Even when doctors have scheduled hours, they could be on call or needed for consultations.
Child support or custody decisions will need to be made in the children’s best interest. Spouses can reach an agreement before a divorce is settled, which leaves less to the court to decide. A divorce lawyer will be able to help you make a parenting plan and argue for custody payments.
Tips to Help in a Doctor’s Divorce
Divorce is a challenging process, and doctors face unique challenges both personally and professionally. It’s easy to feel isolated and a loss of control, but there are steps you can take to ease this transition.
A blog by Toyin Falusi, MD, on KevinMD provides some insight into how many doctors react to divorces and five ways for doctors to process, accept, and heal after the divorce.
How Can A Georgia Divorce Lawyer Help?
Ending a marriage is not an easy task. If you’ve reached the breaking point in your marriage you should work with someone with experience guiding people through divorces. You also deserve assistance from knowledgeable and experienced professionals.
You deserve to be represented by an attorney who understands the demands of the medical profession, and that you want what’s best for you and your family. Your attorney should be able to argue on your behalf, helping you determine what assets are eligible to be divided between parties.
You need an attorney who is ready to help you negotiate your case or take the matter to court. As a doctor, you have a taxing job. Your attorney can help remove some of the burden a divorce can create.
Call the Gentry Law Firm Now
If you’re a doctor or medical provider facing divorce, consider calling the Gentry Law Firm, LLC. We’re a firm that’s been focused on divorce and family law for decades. Our founder William Gentry has been practicing law in Georgia since 1996.
We’re ready to hear your case and answer your questions about divorce. We know each case is unique, but we’re prepared to give your case the attention it needs to find you a favorable outcome. We’re based in Marietta and can help you with your Georgia divorce needs. You don’t need to face your divorce alone.
Call (770) 425-5573 or use our online contact form to schedule your free initial consultation.