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Divorcing doctors: Advice for navigating marriage and divorce

Having a rewarding career as a physician with a medical practice of your own may have a few downsides. For example, doctors experience a higher divorce rate - it's 10 to 20 percent higher than the average population.

The increased risk of divorce is unfortunate because physicians will face financial complications when dividing a medical practice. Asset division proceedings are never entirely straightforward for business owners, and this could result in professional and financial damage to the business if the business owner -- or doctor in this case -- is not careful.

How can you protect your medical practice during divorce?

The best preventative measure you take is to sign a prenuptial agreement before marriage. Alternatively, a post-nuptial agreement is appropriate if you're already married.

Nevertheless, most doctors never sign a prenup. This is because people tend to get married before they have any assets to protect. There's also a difference between the sexes. Male doctors -- who marry later in life when they have a successful medical practice -- are more likely to protect themselves with a prenuptial agreement as compared to female doctors.

Later on, when divorce becomes a reality, the error of their ways becomes apparent.

What should you do if you don't have a prenup?

If you don't have a prenuptial agreement and a medical practice is at stake in your divorce, an experienced divorce lawyer will help. Business division matters are complicated in a divorce, but there's no reason for spouses to become aggressive or adversarial.

Mediation is oftenthe best way for doctors and their spouses to settle their asset division matters. It's also the most cost-effective by saving on attorneys' fees, court costs and litigation expenses. Mediation could save you tens of thousands of dollars -- and an enormous amount of time and stress in the process.

Make sure your mediation process works

Mediation works best when doctors and their spouses can view their high net worth asset division process as a business transaction. Such a perspective will help you keep your eyes on the prize of mediation and result in the best outcome possible.

Having an experienced family law attorney on your side will also ensure that your business division process goes smoothly, and doesn't leave you, your medical practice or your family suffering financially.

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