Doctors and Divorce in NJ: Protecting Your Practice

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Apr 21, 2023 | 0 Comments

While divorce is challenging for all couples, special issues arise when physicians divorce. In New Jersey, these divorces may involve division of a medical practice, alimony issues, and special considerations concerning disclosure of sensitive information.

An MD is Not a Marital Asset

In NJ, a professional degree is not a marital asset. A party divorcing a physician may seek the value of a medical practice or alimony, but not the value of the degree.


Courts are increasingly reluctant to grant alimony, and when awarded, it is rehabilitative in nature, allowing an ex-spouse time to establish themselves financially. For the ex-spouse of a physician, alimony may act as reimbursement, compensating the ex-spouse for financially supporting a partner through medical school. Such alimony is limited and is not indefinite.

Medical Practice as a Marital Asset

A medical practice may be subject to division in divorce only if it is marital property. Whether a medical practice is marital property depends on:

  • The corporate structure of the practice.
  • The date the practice was established.
  • Growth of the practice, if any, during the marriage.
  • Agreements between other partners (if any) or owners.

This issue is very fact specific, so consult experienced counsel before assuming a medical practice is marital property.

Valuation of a Medical Practice

Valuation of a medical practice is typically done by an expert, and is dependent on several factors, most notably:

  • Tangible assets, such as real property or equipment.
  • Intangible assets, like reputation and goodwill.
  • Pending liabilities, including loans or pending lawsuits.

Equitable Division

In New Jersey, courts divide marital property under Equitable Division Doctrine, and attempt to divide assets in a way that is fair and equitable to the parties. Such division of assets is not always an even division between the parties, but it should be fair. The court will also consider an equitable division of debt, including student loan debt, as well as division of assets.

The ex-spouse of a doctor will not be awarded a share of the medical practice, but division can be handled in two ways:

  • The ex-spouse receives other assets to compensate for the value of the practice.
  • The ex-spouse may agree to future payouts over time. In these situations, the ex-spouse will often ask for life insurance in the amount of future payments.

Non-Disclosure Agreements

If your ex-spouse has sensitive information about your medical practice or you have concerns about attempts to harm your valuable reputation, consider asking your ex-spouse to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, or NDA, as a part of the marital settlement.

For physicians facing divorce, it is vital to secure experienced counsel early in the process and to take time to carefully consider your options before signing a marital settlement agreement. Attorney Joseph D. Lento's Family Law Team brings an understanding of the division of marital assets and strong advocacy and negotiation skills necessary in high-value divorce cases. To learn how the Lento Law Firm can help you, contact us online, or call 888-535-3686 today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings! He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and protects their interests.


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