Divorces or Legal Separations for Doctors and other related medical professionals present unique problems for you as you consider your options during divorce. Divorce issues for doctors differ from conventional clients due to your significant time commitment your profession requires and due to the greater likelihood of income and wealth loss as a result of the divorce process.
Doctors have a higher likelihood of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. These agreements (prenuptial or postnuptial) are a “rewrite” of Texas’s laws regarding community property. Since prenuptial agreements are written specifically for each individual couple, it is nearly impossible for a lawyer to provide practical legal advice without actually seeing the prenuptial agreement firsthand.
If you do not have a prenuptial agreement, standard rules for community property apply. Since the income of a doctor is on average $195,513, your higher income and wealth exposes you to greater responsibility. And, in cases where the mother stays at home, there are significant implications with respect to not only spousal maintenance and the “property split,” but also with consideration to where the court will award “primary placement” of the children.
Briefly, the “property split” in standard “stay at home” mom situations typically favor the mom and disfavor the medical professional. In these contexts, we typically see awards of property that are more proportionately in favor of the stay at home parent. At Engel Law Group, P.S., we also tend to see significantly higher spousal maintenance awards in marriages that are longer than 5 years. Since our courts tend to punish doctors who do well, we’ve even seen some awards in very short marriages. As one can imagine, the importance of securing a post or prenuptial agreement before divorce is imperative.
Also, and excluding “.191” factors (drugs, alcohol or other abuse problems), the custodial award tends to favor the stay-at-home parent. This is often due to the hectic work schedule of the doctor who may be on call and have rotating shifts. Remember, there are exceptions and not every case is the same. Please consult with one of our attorneys to provide specific advice for your legal situation.
Retention of a lawyer early enough in the process of divorce or legal separation can allow the doctor or dentist to gain some advantage in property splits and help the medical professional avoid unfortunate tax consequences. If you are a medical professional, seek the expert advice of our office by calling 214-915-2205 or email us today to schedule your consultation.