Protecting a Medical Practice in a PA Divorce

Posted by Joseph Lento | Apr 21, 2023 | 0 Comments

When couples divorce, dividing assets is hard. But when those assets include a medical practice, the division of assets is more difficult and complex. In Pennsylvania, divorcing physicians may need to take action to protect their reputation or to protect a medical practice they have spent years or decades building.

Whether a Medical Practice is a Marital Asset

A medical practice may be subject to division in divorce only if it is a marital asset, and not separate property. Whether a medical practice is a marital asset will depend on the date the practice began and the growth, if any, of the practice during the marriage. Other information vital to this issue includes the corporate structure of the practice and any agreements between the partners.

Valuation of a Medical Practice

In any high net-worth divorce, the valuation of assets becomes critical and must be done by an experienced professional. The valuation of a medical practice is dependent on several factors, most notably:

  • Tangible assets, such as real property or equipment.
  • Intangible assets, like reputation and goodwill.
  • Pending liabilities, including loans or pending lawsuits.

A professional will consider all the assets of the practice and will also consider the liabilities of the practice in determining a value.

Equitable Division

In Pennsylvania, courts divide marital property under the equitable division doctrine and attempt to divide assets in a way that is fair and equitable to the parties. Such division of assets is not always an even division between the parties, but it should be fair.

Equitable Division Involves Both Assets and Debts

Divorcing physicians should note that equitable division involves consideration of both assets and debt. If a physician incurred significant debt to complete their medical education and internship, the court would consider this in an equitable division of assets and debts in a divorce.

Division of a Medical Practice

The ex-spouse of a doctor will generally not be awarded a share of the medical practice unless they are also a partner in the practice. The parties can divide the practice in one of three ways:

  • The practice is sold, and the proceeds are divided between the parties (often not the best option for tax and other considerations).
  • The ex-spouse receives other assets to compensate for the value of the practice.
  • The ex-spouse may agree to future payouts over time. In these situations, the ex-spouse will often ask for life insurance in the amount of future payments.

Non-Disclosure Agreements

The most important (and most overlooked) action a physician can take in a divorce proceeding may be asking their ex-spouse to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement or NDA. If your ex-spouse has sensitive information about your medical practice or you have concerns about attempts to harm your valuable reputation, consider asking your ex-spouse to sign an NDA.

If you are a physician facing divorce in PA, call our Family Law Team at the LLF Law Firm today by calling 888-535-3686 or telling us about your situation online.

About the Author

Joseph Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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