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Divorce for Physicians - Some Dangers

Lady Justice


Representing physicians we know that even a simple family law matter can escalate into a healthcare law nightmare. A hospital or medical center is self protective and physician divorce cases can often lead to allegations of alcohol or substance abuse, domestic violence and financial irregularities. Hospitals and medical groups may be overly critical of physicians in crisis. This protects the group in case the physician does go through hard times which might impact patient care. The better groups will offer counseling and other support services for the physician during difficult times.

Family law/divorce issues can trigger civil or criminal financial investigations. The big picture items such as false claims act (FCA), Stark violations and regulatory compliance issues do not usually involve a single physician but healthcare fraud inquires can be triggered in divorce. Hostile lawyers will subject the physician and the physician's medical group to aggressive financial scrutiny. This takes place in the context of valuing a partnership share or future value of a practice. Private judges can mitigate some of this harm but hostile audits will often uncover some (even innocent) irregularity that gives bargaining power to the “other” partner.

The CMA in March of 2024 requested that the California Medical Board consider physician wellness program best practices. CMA President-Elect Shannon Udovic-Constant, M.D stated that “Questions asked in the licensing process are discouraging physicians and physicians in training from seeking appropriate care out of fear that it will negatively impact their licensure.” This is consistent with our observations that physicians under stress (and divorce is very high stress) do not receive the support that they deserve.

For these reasons we maintain a network of top family law attorneys who work with us in representing physicians facing family law/divorce issues. Our legal team includes an MBA and lead attorney Daniel Horowitz is is also a Registered Investment Advisor and Real Estate broker.