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Understanding Physician Divorce

Many business owners go through the divorce process, but doctors who divorce are unique. With physician divorce, there is often a business (medical practice) involved, but there are also many other factors in play. 

While many people expect rates of divorce among doctors to be high, they’re really not. Approximately one-quarter of doctors are divorced, which is below the overall average of 50%. When both spouses are doctors, the divorce rate is less than half that, at roughly 12%. However, female doctors are more likely than male doctors to divorce. 

Why Do Physicians get Divorced? 

Researchers are still trying to figure out why doctors get divorced. Here are some speculations:

  • Their jobs are stressful. Doctors deal with sick, injured, and dying patients day in and day out. It can be stressful constantly dealing with people’s medical conditions, and this stress can affect a marriage.
  • There is a lot of pressure. Saving lives all the time can put a doctor under a lot of pressure. Doctors do not have the luxury of making mistakes. If they do, they can be sued for medical malpractice. So there is a lot of pressure to do the right things and make the right decisions at all times. This can be emotionally draining to the point where it affects a marriage.
  • Burnout. Burnout is especially common among female physicians. Women experience work-family conflicts to a larger degree than men because they take on more of the home duties. Plus, there is often a bias in the workplace as well, such as lower pay, that can make a woman get burned out easily.

Common Issues in a Physician Divorce

In a physician divorce, there are several main issues to consider:

  • Child custody. When divorcing with children, child custody will often go to the parent who is not a doctor. That’s because doctors’ schedules can often be unpredictable. Creating a custody schedule can be challenging.
  • Finances. The income and valuation of the medical practice/office will need to be determined. Calculating a physician’s income can be complicated, as many have several income sources. If the non-doctor spouse worked in the medical practice, they may feel entitled to some part of the medical practice. In any case, the practice will need to be valued so that it can be equitably split in the divorce. 
  • Alimony. Many doctors make a much higher salary than their spouses, so it’s not uncommon for the non-doctor spouse to demand “reimbursement alimony.” The spouse will want to continue living the lifestyle they have enjoyed as a doctor’s spouse.

Contact Lawrence Law Office Today

It’s not easy when doctors divorce. There is often a need to divide a practice as well as split retirement accounts and other assets.
Without a prenuptial agreement in place, things can get complicated. The Ohio business owner divorce lawyers at Lawrence Law Office can guide you through the process. To schedule a consultation, call 614-228-3664 or fill out the online form.

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