How may divorce affect two physicians who own a medical practice?
Dual-physician marriages with couples working together may involve dividing, modifying or selling a health care business during a divorce. Ohio’s equitable distribution laws require you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse to divide your marital assets fairly.
A fair division may require buying out your spouse’s share of the business. You may also have an option to exchange it for another asset. If you and your ex-spouse choose to continue as partners, however, your divorce may include negotiating a new ownership structure.
Divorced couples may prefer to maintain their businesses
As noted by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, a business reliant on each partner’s professional skills may require continuing the relationship. When two physicians’ combined abilities provide a community with much-needed services, dividing a practice may affect patients.
Employees may also find it hard to adjust to a divided workplace. Relationships established with suppliers and other health care professionals may undergo changes if you or your spouse suddenly leaves the practice. To avoid disruptions, you may decide to keep your business running as before. You may also need to create a new work arrangement.
A legal agreement may facilitate a continued relationship
When deciding to maintain a medical practice, a new written agreement may specify two partners instead of two spouses. A contract could allow you to divide your responsibilities and schedules to avoid uncomfortable working conditions. You may also include terms for resolving disputes and dividing profits.
In some cases, selling a medical practice and dividing its proceeds helps dual-physician couples move on. As noted by Business Valuation Resources, Ohio generally requires a business appraisal to reflect its value on the date of a divorce filing. An appraisal provides a fair market value that you may use to negotiate when buying out your ex’s fair share. You may also leverage a business appraisal’s value to trade ownership for other marital assets.