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Protect your medical practice with a prenuptial agreement

If you are a physician with your own practice, a divorce could threaten to dismantle everything you've built. If you fail to create protections for your practice ahead of time, you could face the unpleasant or unfeasible task of attempting to keep the practice afloat in the face of divorce obligations. Fortunately, with proper preparation, you can protect your practice from divorce, if you act quickly.

The most widely preferred way to protect any business from being subject to property division as marital property in a divorce is through a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding document that allows both spouses to classify certain property or even future property as personal and not marital. This means that even if you do not yet have a practice, but plan to build one once you get through medical school or residency, you can protect your future practice from a potential divorce.

If you are already married, you may also be able to create a post-nuptial agreement with some of the same benefits. This is merely an agreement that outlines some of the same protections as those in a prenuptial agreement, but is created after a marriage is already established. Post-nuptial agreements are not generally as enforceable as prenuptial agreements, so be sure you understand what you can and cannot expect from one before you put all your eggs in that basket.

If you are already facing a divorce without any kind of protection for your practice, you need to choose your next actions shrewdly. You almost certainly want to consult with an experienced divorce attorney who can help you understand the options you have. Once you understand your available options, you can create a strong strategy to keep your practice intact and your rights protected while you navigate your divorce.

Source: Medical Economics, "Divorce: How to make sure the dissolution of your marriage doesn't take your practice with it," Debra Beaulieu, accessed Oct. 06, 2017

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