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Physician divorces: Yes, they can sometimes be quite different

If you're a doctor in Massachusetts or elsewhere in the country who is going through a divorce, you might be thinking that your stresses and concerns are materially -- in fact, fundamentally -- different in nature and magnitude from those of other divorcing parties who do not practice medicine.

You're likely overstating that to a degree, given the commonality of a few key divorce considerations that recurrently feature in many divorces (parenting plans and visitation, for example).

On the other hand, though, myriad and highly distinct concerns come into play for divorcing doctors that are only relevant for … doctors.

Who else is maintaining a medical practice while going through divorce negotiations, for instance? Other than a doctor, who else can understand the goodwill attached to a medical practice and its relation to valuation? Among your non-doctor friends and acquaintances, who else has built up a specialized, sophisticated and highly technical business over the years and from scratch?

For a multitude of reasons, notes one media report on relevant physician considerations in divorce, many doctors ending a marriage "have to deal with a roller coaster of critical decisions and emotions."

And, truly, much of that has to do with just how singular and differentiated most things are regarding their occupation, income stream, sources of wealth, professional affiliations and credentials, business involvements and other matters.

It is a base imperative for most divorcing physicians to secure legal help from an attorney who is truly experienced in representing doctors and promoting their interests in divorce matters. "[H]iring inappropriate or inexperienced counsel" is a serious mistake that many doctors make when getting divorced, notes the above-cited report.

A proven family law attorney who has handled many divorce cases for physician clients knows how to deal with the complex property issues that often crop up during the divorce process. As mentioned above, things like goodwill and the accurate valuation of a medical practice are often critically important to divorce outcomes.

So, too, can be matters relating to trusts, partnerships, retirement vehicles, profit-sharing plans and stock options.

Physician divorce can feature many -- and integrated -- complexities. A knowledgeable and tested attorney who commands a wealth of experience representing divorce clients from the medical profession can answer questions and provide diligent legal representation in a dissolution matter.

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