May 9, 2021 In Family Law and Divorce

Can your spouse take your professional practice in a divorce?

For the average couple facing a divorce, the biggest concerns will be what happens with their children and how they split up their possessions. Many couples will focus their financial divorce concerns on major assets like retirement accounts and the family home.

However, as a successful professional, you have another asset that could be vulnerable in a divorce. Your professional practice as a doctor, dentist, accountant or therapist is the source of your revenue and likely a source of pride. You have built up a professional practice on your own through hard work and personal sacrifice.

Is it possible that your spouse will receive some of the value from your professional practice or even walk away with a partial ownership interest in it after the divorce?

Is your professional practice separate property or marital property?

Texas is a community property state, which means is that the courts will generally expect and your spouse to split the assets and debts from your marriage if you get a divorce. While you may have been the only one working at your professional practice, if you used income earned during your marriage or other marital assets to start or maintain your practice, your spouse might have a partial interest in your practice.

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement could potentially earmark your practice as separate property. If you didn’t take steps to protect your practice, at least part of its value may be at risk. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your ex has to receive part of the business during the divorce. 

Concerns about your professional practice could be motive to compromise

Many people take an adversarial approach to divorce because they want the best outcome and they want to penalize their ex. The more antagonistic things become, the more unreasonable your ex’s claims might become.

If you are able to negotiate directly and compromise, you may be able to offer other assets in lieu of your spouse receiving value directly from your professional practice. In that way, you can maintain control over your business and move forward with your divorce without worrying about its impact on your finances and professional future.

Looking at your marital and financial circumstances can give you a better idea of the best way to approach the protection of your professional practice in a pending Texas divorce.

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