Many doctors, lawyers, accountants and other business professionals in and around Murfreesboro have spent years building up their practices.
After investing this time and effort, it is little wonder that these professionals worry about what will happen to their practices during and immediately after a divorce.
The short answer is that, with some exceptions, the court will divide the value of the practice. If a professional married when they were just starting out and now are divorcing, the practice will likely be marital property.
Unless the spouses agree, it is the court’s job to divide it fairly just like any other property.
Who legally owns the business, who has been involved in the business and even who has the professional license to carry on the business do not matter at the highest level. Such things only matter when it comes to the details of how the court divides the business.
Thinking about issues ahead of time can protect a professional practice
Still, there are some items a Middle Tennessee professional should think about, as doing so could minimize the fallout from a divorce and protect the professional’s practice and livelihood.
- Is there a premarital agreement? If there is a valid agreement which addresses the division of the professional practice, the court will follow that agreement.
- What is the value of the practice? This is an important question to answer correctly. In addition to legal support, an accountant or appraiser may be helpful. On a related point, it is important to get a good idea about the future earning potential of the practice.
- What are the options for actually dividing the practice? There may be some exceptions, but in many cases, the professional will have to figure out how to buy out their spouse’s share in the practice. They may have to trade other property if they have it or come up with some financing with which to pay the spouse in cash.
- What about my reputation in the community? In many respects, reputation is a professional’s stock in trade. A messy and public divorce can hurt that reputation, so a professional may want to look to mediation or some other way of resolving their divorce outside of the courtroom.