Establishing a medical practice requires years of hard work, money and dedication to your patients. You may feel that these assets should be yours alone after your marriage ends. However, Florida courts subject medical practices to the same property division process that affects other businesses during a divorce.
Division of assets considers when you started your practice
When dividing property, courts will consider when you began your practice. if you did so during the marriage, it is considered marital property to be divided evenly. If the practice began prior to the marriage, the increase in value since the marriage will be considered marital property and must be divided evenly.
Dividing assets does not mean sharing your practice
Some medical providers worry that dividing your property during a divorce will result in their spouse owning half their practice. Florida laws will not allow you to share ownership of your practice if your estranged spouse is not a doctor, nor will you have to split your company in two. Instead, the process of dividing your medical property’s worth includes these steps:
• The court determines the practice’s value.
• The court may provide you with ownership of the practice and your spouse a larger share of the other marital assets.
• The court may force you to buy out the spouse’s interest in your business.
• If you have no other assets, you may be forced to liquidate aspects of your business.
• If you can prove liquidation will hurt your business, the courts may allow a payment schedule.
Florida law does not want to take your medical practice away
Although Florida’s division of property may seem unfair, the goal of the courts is not to force you out of business. The goal is to allow you to continue in your practice, while also providing your spouse with the monetary compensation they are entitled to under state law.