Does My Spouse Have a Right to My Medical Practice During Divorce?
One of the most pressing issues in any divorce is the identification, valuation, and division of marital property. Some assets are easy to evaluate and distribute during divorce. Others require assistance from financial and legal professionals.
If you are a doctor with a private practice, you may question how your professional practice will be addressed during divorce. Many medical professionals assume that their practice is theirs alone. However, there are many situations where a medical practice is considered a marital asset to which both spouses are entitled. Even if the practice is considered a non-marital asset, the value of the practice is likely to influence several divorce issues, including property division, spousal support, and child support.
Understanding Ownership of a Professional Practice in an Illinois Divorce
If you are like many doctors getting divorced, you may assume that your professional practice is exclusively your property. After all, the practice only has value because of your medical proficiency. However, per Illinois law, businesses and professional practices may be considered marital property jointly held by both spouses if:
The property is identified as marital property in a valid marital contract such as a prenuptial agreement
You established the private practice during the marriage
Your spouse contributed money, time, or energy to the professional practice that increased the value of the practice
How Can My Professional Practice Impact Divorce?
If your private practice is considered a marital asset, your spouse has a right to an equitable share of the practice’s value during divorce. You and your spouse may be able to negotiate a property division arrangement without going to court. If you cannot reach a property division settlement, the court will determine how to divide property between you and your spouse. Illinois courts recognize non-financial contributions as well as financial contributions when determining property division. If your spouse supported you through medical school or cared for the children while you focused on your career, this will likely be a factor in the court’s decision-making process.
If your private practice is considered non-marital property, the value of your private practice will still impact divorce concerns such as spousal maintenance and child support. Therefore, getting a professional appraisal of the practice’s value is crucial.
Contact a DuPage County Professional Practice Division Lawyer
Your spouse may have a right to a portion of your professional practice’s value during divorce. Properly addressing businesses and professional practices during a divorce case can be quite complex. For help, contact the experienced Lombard divorce attorneys at Aldrich & Siedlarz Law, P.C.. Call 630-953-3000 for a free consultation.