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David R. Hartwig, Esq.
Family Law & Divorce
Attorney & Counselor at Law
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Professional Degrees and Divorce.

On Behalf of | Sep 30, 2016 | Uncategorized

You, or your spouse, worked hard to receive a professional degree, and now you are looking at divorce. What is that degree worth? What rights does your spouse have in relation to that degree?

This issue comes up a lot when a couple marry before, or during the time, one of them is pursuing a professional or advanced degree. The stereotypical story of the wife putting her husband through medical school only to face a divorce once he gets his degree and is out practicing. But that is not the only time it happens, I have seen this in dentistry, the military, and other professional situations.

The degree itself is personal to the recipient and cannot be considered marital property. The same goes for professional “good will” associated with a sole practitioner’s professional work. Nor can it be used to award the other spouse to directly share in the benefits of the professional degree or license.

But, the financial aspects change is the professional goes into practice with a group or company. And, the current earning ability of the professional would be treated similarly to earned income for purposes of child support and alimony.
Even though this would appear to be a well-established policy, I have seen litigation involving these issues. So, if you hold, or are earning, a professional degree and going through a divorce, contact an experienced family law attorney.

I am David R. Hartwig, Esq., a Salt Lake City attorney with extensive experience helping parents resolve simple or high-conflict custody issues reaching arrangements that work for children and parents. Child custody involves parent-time and visitation schedules, and can affect support. I help in all of these areas, providing comprehensive service clients need to achieve their custody goals.

Factors In Child Custody Decisions

As an experienced Utah child custody lawyer, I understand that custody cases may become a contentious issue even years after an order is finalized. The trend in Utah toward joint custody often creates messy, unworkable situations, which ultimately lead to enforcement issues when parents do not abide by their custody orders.

The best interests of the child must be considered, including:

• Whether joint legal or physical custody will benefit the child’s physical, psychological and emotional needs, or the child’s development

• The parents’ ability to give first priority to the child’s welfare, and reach shared decisions in the child’s best interest

• Whether each parent is capable of encouraging and accepting a positive relationship between the child and the other parent

• Whether both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce

• The distance between the parents’ homes

• The parents’ maturity and their willingness and ability to protect the child from conflict that may arise between the parents

• The parents’ ability to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly

• Any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping

• Any other factors the court finds relevant

Despite the complicated and sensitive nature of custody matters, I have helped many clients successfully establish custody orders.

Get Help With Your Child Custody Issue

If you have a child custody issue, please contact me, David R. Hartwig, Esq. I am an experienced Salt Lake City custody lawyer dedicated to helping clients resolve complex custody issues and implement necessary custody orders. For high-conflict cases, I am also one of the few Utah child custody modification attorneys trained as a Special Master for ongoing dispute resolution.

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