Considerations When Divorcing an Attorney

By | Published On: May 15, 2023

If you’re divorcing an attorney or are an attorney divorcing your spouse, there are several crucial factors to consider. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

Evaluating Equity Partner’s Interest in their Firm

If either you or your spouse is an equity partner in a law firm, your divorce lawyer will need to evaluate the equity partner’s interest in the business. This may require the assistance of an expert to determine the worth of the equity partner’s stake. In order to do this, it is important to secure a copy of the equity partner’s partnership or shareholding agreement. Their law firm may request both partners to sign a confidentiality agreement before sharing any firm proprietary information. Smaller law firms may face similar considerations as small business owners when it comes to divorce proceedings involving equity partners.

Addressing Irregular Income/Bonuses When Divorcing an Attorney

Many attorneys receive annual or bi-annual bonuses based on billable hours, collections, and business brought into the firm. Sometimes this is in addition to firm contributions toward a retirement account. Courts consider gross income, including bonuses, when determining spousal or child support. However, the calculation of monthly income is not as straightforward as dividing an attorney’s gross income by 12 since a large portion of an attorney’s salary may only be received once or twice a year. Your divorce attorney will consider this and other relevant factors when determining support in your case.

Trial Schedule and Travel for Work

Attorneys may be required to travel for out-of-town trials, depositions, or client meetings, which can sometimes be unpredictable and come up at the last minute. It is essential to establish a schedule that provides predictability for the in-town parent while also accommodating the needs of the traveling parent. This may involve a regular schedule with a notice requirement for all work-related travel, along with the option to flex the schedule to provide make-up time for the traveling parent.

Consult with a Family Law Attorney

These are just a few of the many issues that attorneys and those married to attorneys face during a divorce. An experienced family law attorney can help you identify and address these and other unique considerations related to your family’s circumstances.

Emily C. Baker is a family law attorney and partner at Tucker PLLC. 

Learn more about the Tucker Family Law Team