How a Professional Practice is Valued and Divided in a Divorce

  1. physician
  2. veterinarian
  3. psychiatrist
  4. chiropractor
  5. podiatrist
  6. psychologist
  7. therapist
  8. dentist
  9. lawyer
  10. accountant
  11. bookkeeper
  12. financial planner
  13. financial analyst
  14. appraiser
  15. architect
  16. consultant
  17. coach
  18. realtor
  19. stockbroker
  20. engineer
  21. etc.

What do all of the above have in common?

They are all professionals who may be sole or part owners of a private professional practice.

Therefore, in the event of a divorce, a key concern of such a professional is likely going to be what rights, if any, his or her spouse may have to the practice.

An excellent introduction to how a professional practice will be valued and divided in a divorce appears in an article by my North Carolina colleague, Lee Rosen, in the Carolina NewsWire: When A Professional Divorces – Protecting a Professional Practice.

One particularly important component of value in a professional practice is probably goodwill. As Lee explains, there are two types of goodwill, personal and enterprise, – and different states treat each type differently in the event of a divorce.

As Lee explains, in a professional practice, the personal goodwill of the professional may be significant. What that means is that, without that particular individual professional, the practice may have little or no value.

There is a fairly even split among states as to whether personal goodwill of one spouse is marital property which should be divided in a divorce. (Of course, property division of a professional practice in a divorce refers only to division of the value, not of the practice itself.)

Unlike Lee’s North Carolina, in Florida, personal goodwill of a spouse is not marital property and should not be divided in a divorce.

This article is well worth reading for all stakeholders in professional practices.