Janet E. Boyle Answers:
A professional divorce has several issues, not necessarily found in other cases. The first is the valuation of a professional practice. Does it have a value or is it simply the professional’s personal reputation? The ultimate question is whether the value of the business includes the intangible asset of goodwill and if so, whether the goodwill is personal or enterprise goodwill.
We work with the best business valuators in the Chicagoland area, who will answer that question and be available to testify as an expert witness on behalf of our client. A professional practice cannot be transferred to the other spouse, as for example, a candy store could, so if there is a value, it is assigned to the professional and the value is offset against other marital assets.
Another concern is whether a professional education or license acquired during the marriage is an asset. In Illinois, the answer is “no.” Another issue is determining the actual personal income of the professional. Are there significant student loans outstanding? What is the malpractice insurance cost? Are Continuing Medical Education (or CME) costs to exotic locations a legitimate business expense? We know all of the questions and have the answers.