So, you’re a physician facing divorce in Edina or elsewhere in the Twin Cities? You’re not alone – divorces amongst physicians may be slightly less common than divorces amongst the general population, but they are still quite prevalent.
I’ve personally represented numerous physicians during their divorce, so I’m well-versed in how being a doctor can affect marriages. Maybe your spouse simply couldn’t understand and accept your demanding work schedule, or perhaps the high-stakes nature of your career led to stress that caused a rift between you and your partner. Of course, it’s very likely that your marriage is ending not due to your occupation but because things simply aren’t working between you and your spouse anymore.
While a physician’s divorce is similar in many ways to the divorce of someone with another career, I can’t ignore some of the glaring differences. These differences include your strenuous and sometimes unpredictable work schedule; the potential of having a higher asset divorce due to your prestigious career; and the time, finances, and effort your spouse may have also contributed to helping you obtain your advanced degree. These all come into play when discussing the most common pitfalls of a physician divorce.
My experience as a divorce attorney for physicians in Edina has illuminated for me many missteps clients can make when navigating their divorce. I’ve expanded on the three most common here in hopes of helping you navigate your physician divorce smoothly.
Pitfall #1: Underestimating the process
You may assume your divorce will be cut-and-dry: find an attorney, show up for mediation, sign some papers, and you’re done. Don’t be lulled into false security by assuming your divorce will be like others – every divorce is unique, especially if you have a medical practice and substantial marital assets to divide.
The adage “hope for the best but prepare for the worst” is especially applicable to a physician divorce. It’s certainly possible that your divorce will be quick, easy, and stress-free. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees. So, do what you can to understand the process and gather any necessary information you may need to make things easier.
Your attorney will need all of your marital financial documents in addition to information about your medical practice. Having this paperwork ready to go can be hugely beneficial. Now is the time to go through your files and make copies of all relevant paperwork.
Pitfall #2: Not accounting for sacrifices your spouse may have made
Obviously, you’ve made some big sacrifices to get to where you are today. But years of schooling, tremendous student loan debt, and nights of sleep deprivation all paid off once you landed your dream job as a doctor.
It can be easy to overlook these sacrifices once you’ve reached your goals, but they will certainly come back up during your divorce if your spouse has been helping you manage them through the years. For example, when you were in school and were unable to work a full-time job, did your spouse contribute additional income to the household? Does your spouse stay home with your children so you can work a demanding schedule? Did he or she settle on a less lucrative career so you could fulfill your dream of being a doctor?
I ask these questions because they can come into play when determining spousal maintenance and how to distribute marital assets. In fact, any of the following can affect the process:
- Disparity of earning power of the spouses and their ability to support themselves
- Health and ages of the spouses
- Education and future employability of the spouses
- Tax consequences of the division of property
- Earning power, business opportunities, capacities, and abilities of the spouses
So, there is a possibility you’ll end up making high monthly payments to your spouse, and you may see an unexpected division of assets that’s intended to level the financial playing field. Your best shot at avoiding this scenario? Hiring an attorney who regularly handles divorce for physicians in Edina. This leads me right into our third pitfall.
Pitfall #3: Choosing the wrong Edina physician divorce attorney
There are countless divorce and family law attorneys, and many have been practicing for years. But they don’t all have experience in divorce for physicians in Edina, which is the most important thing for you to look for when choosing your own divorce attorney.
This breaks down into two important aspects: an attorney’s experience in your jurisdiction, and their experience working with physicians. Local attorneys will be familiar with all the applicable laws and can best guide you through the process in your jurisdiction, while their experience representing other physicians means your attorney can offer you unique, career-specific solutions regarding division of assets, valuation of your practice, and spousal maintenance. Don’t underestimate the value of a knowledgeable attorney during your divorce, or you may face an adverse financial situation for years to come.
If you avoid the three most common pitfalls I’ve outlined here, you’ll be setting yourself up for a favorable financial outcome at the conclusion of your divorce. Looking for an empathetic yet aggressive divorce law lawyer Edina? Contact me at (612) 564-0137 or on my website to get started.