A professional practice is such a personal investment that it is sometimes difficult for professionals to view it as a marital asset. But spouses also contribute and sacrifice, and the law says that a couple shares all they have cultivated and accumulated during marriage.
At O'Brian & Associates, we are attuned to the sensitive nature and special considerations of professional practices in divorce. In representing professionals, we work to protect the business from divorce and the claims of the spouse. In representing nonprofessional spouses, we drill down to accurately value the practice and compensate our client accordingly.
Our firm has practiced exclusively in divorce and family law in Washington state since 1986, serving the Eastside and Greater Seattle. Our team of experienced attorneys routinely handles the associated complexities of high-asset divorces through cooperative settlement methods and courtroom proceedings. Call today to schedule a confidential consultation about your specific case.
We have addressed professional practices in medicine, dentistry, accounting, law and other disciplines. Our firm works with business valuation experts to determine the current value of the practice, including its goodwill in the field and the community. There is also an intrinsic value to the professional degree itself (M.D., CPA, J.D., D.D.S., etc.) which may come into play if the professional works part-time or is in the early stages of a promising career.
Another important consideration is the spouse's contributions to the degree and the practice. The spouse may have supported the person through med school, law school or grad school. The spouse may have stayed home to raise the children and put his or her own career on hold while the professional worked to build a medical practice. That spouse is entitled to an offset in the property settlement or spousal maintenance.
Many times, spouses work or worked as the bookkeeper or office manager, perhaps without drawing income. The first step in divorce may be to remove the spouse from employment and sever ties to the business. If so, the spouse has an expectation of financial support or other compensatory award.
We understand what is at stake, whether we are representing the professional or the spouse thereof. We strive toward a fair, efficient and practical agreement, but we are capable litigators if valuation disputes end up in court. To arrange a confidential consultation with our divorce lawyers, call us at (425) 276-7677 or email our firm today.