Divorce is never easy. But if you're a busy professional, such as a physician, dentist, certified professional accountant, or an attorney, divorce holds special challenges for you. You may be worried about the impact that the divorce will have on your professional life as well as your personal one, particularly if you own your own practice or are a partner in a larger practice.
Will your spouse be able to claim part of your professional practice in the divorce? Will the stress of the divorce, and the time it requires, negatively impact your work? Will you have to pay alimony? Will your spouse claim that your income is higher than it really is? Will you be able to prove otherwise?
If these, and other questions, are swirling around your head, the following tips on divorce for professionals, gleaned from years of divorce practice, may help give you some peace of mind.
If you're just setting out on your marriage, career, or both, you're now in the best possible position to protect yourself in the event something goes wrong later. We recommend that you think about entering into a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse in order to protect an existing or future practice. Even if you are only studying to enter into a profession or are working, but not yet in private practice, it's foreseeable that one day you might have a practice of your own.
Planning in advance to protect that practice will give you peace of mind, and a good family law attorney can help you discuss a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse in a way that will minimize friction and hurt feelings.
If you're reading this, however, it may be too late for a prenuptial, or even a post-nuptial, agreement to protect your practice. That's okay. There is still plenty you can do, with the help of a good lawyer, to protect your practice and yourself.
As a professional, particularly if you are running your own business, you know the value of having other professionals and staff who have different skills and strengths than you do. That allows you to focus your energies where you excel, confident that other matters are in capable hands.
It's the same with a divorce. You can't effectively manage your professional business if your attention is constantly diverted by worry about your divorce. Some sadness and stress is inevitable in a divorce, but you need to be able to be confident that your legal interests are being looked after by someone who has the knowledge and skill to protect them.
That means hiring an attorney who concentrates their practice in the area of divorce and family law, and who has extensive experience in the particular issues that matter to you. This is whether that be the concerns of business owners in divorce, protecting significant assets in divorce, or simply making sure that custody or child support and spousal maintenance arrangements are fair. As a professional, you understand how important it is to hire someone whose specific skills are tailored to the job they need to do. At no time is that more critical than when hiring the attorney whose advice and advocacy will affect your personal and professional future.
Your situation is unique. You should consider a divorce process that isn't one-size fits all, and that leaves more decision-making control in your hands. Opting to mediate your divorce gives you and your spouse a chance to define what's important to you and to reach creative resolutions that a judge might not come up with. Having more control over the outcome of your divorce minimizes stress and increases the likelihood that you and your spouse will comply with its terms. A mediated divorce may be resolved more quickly and cost less money, allowing you to focus on your professional concerns. Just remember, even if you mediate, an experienced attorney can advise you prior to the mediation to maximize a favorable outcome for your family.
Of course, depending on your situation, litigating your divorce in court might be necessary. When hiring an attorney, make sure to retain a family law attorney who is a skilled negotiator but also has some trial experience. Be sure to ask if they are comfortable going to trial if need be. We invite you to contact our office to discuss your needs and how we can put our experience representing Minnesota professionals in divorce to work for you.
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