Mistakes doctors make when dealing with divorce counsel

Doctors are just as much business people as they are healers. They tend to the needs of their patients, offering life-transforming treatments, but they also have to tend to the needs of the businesses, grow them and provide financially for themselves and their families.

When a doctor enters into divorce proceedings, he or she will face similar challenges to those faced by a business owner. This is because all or part of the doctor's medical practice will likely be a part of the marital estate.

The decisions you make during your divorce process -- especially in the way you deal with your divorce attorney -- can positively or negatively affect the proceedings. In this regard, here are two mistakes that every doctor should avoid when dealing with their divorce counsel.

Getting the wrong lawyer to represent you

Perhaps you have a good friend who's a lawyer, and you trust him. Maybe you have corporate legal counsel that manages every business tangle you find yourself getting into as a doctor. Or, perhaps you have a health care lawyer who represents you in conflicts with patients. You might be tempted to hire one of these trusted attorneys to represent you in your divorce. This would be a mistake.

A better course of action would be to ask these lawyers if they know an attorney with extensive divorce experience. Particularly, you want a lawyer with experience representing business owners and/or physicians in their divorce proceedings. Always ask lawyers about their experience before you hire them to represent you in a divorce. This experience will serve you well during the dissolution of your marriage.

Failing to share all of your information with your lawyer

Doctors work kind of like lawyers in their jobs. They have to look at the facts and evidence presented by their patients to deduce the patient's health condition and administer the appropriate remedy. In this respect, the more information a patient provides his or her doctor, the more likely the doctor can accurately diagnose the patient.

In the same way, lawyers need all the information pertaining to your business, your income, and your personal situation. Your lawyer will review the facts and circumstances of your case to determine the most appropriate legal remedies for your situation. When information is missing -- particular information that could harm your case -- it will likely be revealed in court at a later time. However, the surprise could come too late for your lawyer to respond efficaciously and it could hurt you worse than if you'd disclosed it sooner.

Ask questions, be up front and do it right the first time

Every doctor's divorce case is different, many are high-asset divorces, and each will require a unique approach to resolve. For this reason, doctors should be up front with their divorce counsel, ask questions about their situations and this will help navigate their divorce the right way. After all, just like when you're working with a medical patient, you only have one chance to get it right.

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