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When doctors decide to get divorced, they may have some unique issues which can be resolved with help from a knowledgeable divorce mediator. The mediator will facilitate divorce negotiations in the light of facts, such as whether one or both parties are doctors, whether their medical practice is individually or jointly owned and run, and what might be the post-divorce income potential of each ex-spouse.

When Only One Ex-Spouse is a Doctor

When only one ex-spouse is a qualified doctor and running the medical practice, the divorce mediator can help both parties explore property division solutions where the doctor spouse retains the ownership of the medical practice after divorce. The mediator may encourage the non-physician spouse to see the benefit of receiving other marital assets (such as the family home) of equivalent value because the medical practice assets would be of no use to them in absence of a practice license.

When Both Ex-Spouses are Doctors

When both parties in a divorce are doctors and jointly own and run a medical office, the negotiations can get more complex. A divorce mediation expert will facilitate an open-minded sharing of views between both ex-spouses and help them see that a failure to reach a middle ground could mean an end of the medical practice – where nobody wins.

If the joint practice offers two medical specialties (example: one doctor spouse is offering dermatology services, while the other is an Ob-Gyn), it may be possible to split the office and continue to run independent practices after divorce. In other cases, where working in the same office post-divorce is not an option, the mediator may recommend one party to buy out the other’s share in the medical practice.

Determining the Market Value of the Medical Practice

While it may be relatively easier in a divorce to value and divide marital assets, such as the house, cars, stocks and bonds, jewelry and retirement accounts, negotiations can get more complex when it comes to determining the valuation of a running medical office.

The divorce mediator may recommend the involvement of a third party business appraiser who can help determine the fair market value (FMV) of the tangible office assets, such as real estate, equipment, fixtures, supplies, and accounts receivables.

Seasoned mediators will also encourage both ex-spouses to come to an agreement on the value of intangible assets, such as the brand value, goodwill, and intellectual property of the medical practice – based on the objective opinion of professional appraisers.      

Resolving Issues Such as Debts and Alimony

The average student loan debt of medical graduates today is in excess of $200,000. Doctors running their own practices often have additional loans obtained at the time of setting up the office. During property division negotiations, a skilled divorce mediator will help the ex-spouses carefully take into account the debts associated with the medical practice.

Alimony is another potentially contentious issue, particularly when only one ex-spouse is a doctor with a substantial income, while the other ex was financially dependent on that income during marriage.

The divorce mediator will help both parties consider facts such as the contribution of the non-physician spouse in the attainment of the doctor spouse’s medical degree as well as the household support provided or personal career sacrifice while the doctor ran a thriving practice during marriage. Based on these facts, the mediator can help the divorcing couple arrive at a fair agreement on alimony payments.

Custody and Visitation Issues in a Doctors’ Divorce

Doctors often have to attend to their patients during emergencies, and typically work long hours, whether they work at a hospital or run their own medical practice. During custody and visitation mediation, this aspect should be carefully considered in order to determine a workable parental plan.

A seasoned divorce mediator will facilitate an environment of cooperative discussion, so that the co-parents may put their child’s best interests above their own and reach a mutually acceptable agreement on this sensitive issue.

Choose a Trusted Divorce Mediator for the Best Outcome

Advanced Mediation Services offers dedicated divorce mediation services tailored to the unique needs of divorcing couples, such as doctors or other professionals. Talk to us if you seek to achieve your goals in a divorce as best as possible. To schedule your free consultation, give us a call at 856-669-7172 or reach us online.

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