When a Florida physician gets a divorce, one important step in the process is to assess the value of the physician’s practice. In many divorces, both spouses hire a forensic accountant to value the business.

Appraising the practice

Whether you are the physician or the spouse of a physician, there may be several questions an attorney will ask, such as when the practice was established and whether there is a buy/sell agreement. A forensic accountant will look at many different factors including the practice’s finances, the lease and the office equipment as well as such intangibles as goodwill. In some cases, each spouse’s accountant might come up with a different number. This could lead to attorneys questioning how each accountant arrived at the figure they did. A forensic accountant might need to defend its work in court.

Dividing the property

Once there is a settled value for the practice, the next step is to figure out how much the non-owning spouse is owed based on that. This may be decided by the two spouses, or a judge may make this decision in litigation. The physician might have an agreement with the partners that a divorce will trigger a loss of stock for the individual getting a divorce. The non-owning spouse might raise an objection if the physician can repurchase the stock later.

People who own other types of businesses and couples who run a business together may face similar challenges. If the business is owned by both, they might agree to sell it and split the proceeds, but this process may be less straightforward than it appears at first. For example, it might take some time to sell the company, so the couple may need to agree on how it will be run in the meantime.