If you are a medical practitioner with a private practice in West Virginia going through a divorce, you need to know how the process will affect your profession. Here’s how it works.
Divorce in West Virginia
When going through a divorce in West Virginia, the court must first determine which property is separate and marital. Marital assets include everything you have accumulated during your marriage.
If you are a medical practitioner, one of your greatest marital assets might be your medical practice. Therefore, it becomes the main subject of division. Of course, the judge will determine which part of it is separate and marital depending on when you started it.
If you began your practice before marriage, then its value between its establishment to when you married will be your separate property; the rest of it will be marital or communal. If you started your practice after marriage, then it will likely be considered marital property in its entirety unless there were pre or post-nuptial agreements made.
Valuing and dividing the medical practice
Next, the court will determine the exact value of your practice. The judge will assign a neutral financial expert to appraise your medical practice. They will factor in your liabilities, assets, value of your reputation or goodwill, then assign a dollar amount to it.
It is important for you to work with your attorney to determine current and future valuation. There are instances where your partner’s attorney can argue that the practice is more valuable now than it could be later and that they need to sell their share.
Other concerns that may affect the division
If your spouse works or worked at your private practice, the judge’s decision to split its value will depend on how you compensated them. If you didn’t pay them their complete compensation, they could have a significant claim to the practice as opposed to when they received their full wages. Also, if your spouse contributed to your education by supporting you through your medical school, they may have the right to claim a larger share.
After determining the accurate value, you can figure out the best way to split your practice. Some people buy their partners out, others sell and share proceeds, or give their spouses something else of similar value.