Do we represent executives, doctors, lawyers, accountants, psychologists, or business owners in Georgia divorces?
As experienced Georgia divorce and family law attorneys, Shaw Law Firm PC has successfully represented all of these types of clients. Issues with division of property are foremost in many of these divorce cases. Here are some of the concerns and strategies in divorce cases needed for each type of business person.
Not just any attorney is qualified to, or has the aptitude or experience necessary to represent business owners. Business owners know their business best, no doubt; however, the way that either a husband or wife will present their case will often differ from how a business owner perceives their business. It is therefore essential to consult with an attorney who understands the different strategies and law affecting businesses in a Georgia divorce, and an attorney with a team of experts who can evaluate a business, and present expert testimony as to the valuation of a business, and to either protect the business, or properly assess the value of the business.
What often happens with business owners in a divorce is that they will get frustrated, and not understand why their spouse has a marital interest in their business to begin with, why are they demanding so much discovery information, and how can their spouse be valuing my business (that he or she had nothing to do with) at such a high valuation. Your wife (or husband’s) attorney will become a villain, he or she will be blamed for not understanding the business, and you will wonder if your spouse’s attorney has any understanding that what they are asking for may destroy the business.
You may hear terms such as goodwill, arguments that personal goodwill should be excluded, that aspects of the business are marital property, or non-marital property and differing valuation strategies by differing experts. It can be very frustrating and demoralizing.
The issue of double counting alimony is often encountered and needs to be addressed and fought, and made clarified to the court. Shaw Law PC has represented enough businesses to understand this entire process, to understand what opposing attorney is trying to do (some legitimate, and perhaps some not) and the need to take our client in and educate them on what is going on, and why, and more importantly, explain what we can do about it.
Representing doctors present unique challenges. As an example, many doctors are also business owners. And medical businesses can be challenging to properly value. Often personal goodwill is not given enough value, and the usual general business experts are not qualified to properly assess the medical practice (it is often advisable to retain a business expert with experience working with medical practices). Variables such as changes in medical malpractice insurance premiums, from year to year, can sometimes be very material.
In many doctor divorce cases, doctors have lived beyond their means while married, and their wives will demand alimony conducive with the excessive standard of living. Financial demands that are not reasonable, but yet is often demanded by spouses of doctors. Often the issue of double counting alimony will need to be addressed and countered.
Child custody and visitation issues can be challenging, as doctor schedules are often demanding, and these factors need to be specifically taken into account. Representing doctors in Georgia present some unique factors and dynamics that need to be thought about and addressed by your divorce attorney and their experts.
Executives and Professionals
Representing executives and professionals in a Georgia divorce can be extremely challenging. One of the most challenging issues is dealing with unreasonable wives (or husbands) who seem not to understand the value of assets, stock options, and who demand and unreasonable standard of living following a divorce. These issues can become extremely frustrating.
A frequent problem is double, triple, or even quadruple counting the value of stock options, and even forgetting basic things, such as the value of a stock option, is net of the cost to pay for the option (and taxes); much less issues that should appear simple like the difference between unvested and vested stock options; these are disputes that can be worth anywhere from tens of thousands to tens of millions of dollars. In one recent case that Shaw Law Firm PC handled for a Fortunate 500 executive, we went into trial with the wife’s expert witness still testifying that the stock options were worth more than $5 million, when any reasonable person could clearly see their value was around $500,000.
In such a case we had to be very meticulous, as the wife’s side was throwing everything up against the wall hoping to confuse the judge, and trying get something to stick. The key to dealing with such a case is to be meticulous, precise, and use the best expert.
Even in cases where our client is alleged to have committed adultery, these cases can unfortunately become vicious, with one spouse angry and demanding unreasonable terms, and we are called in as trial counsel to address these matters that most attorneys are not suited to handle. We have even been able to settle some of these cases, when settlement seemed hopeless. There are often disputes over marital and non-marital assets that can be legally and factually complex, but again, worth a lot of money to get right, and to win on.
Executives and professionals are very busy, and they need an attorney who will not waste their time, but who will get to the gist of what needs to get done, and efficiently handle their matters, while being able to communicate and keep their clients in the loop, in a manner that does not waste their time, but that is also clear and understandable to the client.
Professionals such as attorneys and psychologists have their own unique circumstances as well. The issue of personal goodwill becomes very important for small practices, as an example.
Contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.
Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm PC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.