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Property division: Who is entitled to a business practice?

Filing for divorce can be the first step in a sometimes complicated process. Further issues typically arise involving child custody or property division, which have the potential of becoming complex issues. Deciding what property belongs to which spouse can lead to heated debates. When that property moves from common items such as furniture or houses to more questionable items such as businesses or practices, the situation can take some time to resolve.

As Pennsylvania residents know, it is not uncommon for doctors and medical professionals to own their own practices. When the owner of such goes through a divorce, there may be some question as to whether the spouse is entitled to a part of the company. If the practice was owned before the marriage and the other spouse's name was not put on the ownership then it is not considered marital property. If it was started after the marriage then there is the possibility that each spouse may be entitled to a percentage of the practice.

If both spouses began the practice together and had a similar stake in the business, there could be close to a half-and-half division. This clear cut division is not always the case however, especially if both spouses working in the same practice decide to discontinue working together. The divorce process should not be used to break up a practice, but to ensure that each spouse gains the percentage that he or she is entitled to.

Property division is often a complex issue, and with situations such as business division, the complexities can increase significantly. The correct way to go about division may be confusing to some, so having information on the best way to handle the process can make a considerable difference. Any Pennsylvania resident who is going through divorce proceedings and is concerned about property division may find looking into relevant laws helpful as they move forward.

Source: medscape.com, "How Divorce Could Affect Your Medical Practice," Dennis G. Murray, July 17, 2013

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