When shopping around for a dental practice evaluator, the top choice to lead the search should not be an attorney with little dental practice experience.
A dental practice owner looking for a dental practice evaluator is not putting himself in the best situation if the person leading the way is an attorney. That is because it is rare for an attorney to have had much if any experience in representing dental practices in general.
The situation with a divorce is even more complex than a divorce situation with a general business person. The main difference between the general business situation and the dental practice is goodwill and its significant value to the dental practice compared to its less-than-important value to the general business.
For the plaintiff or defendant in a dental practice divorce situation who has never been involved with litigation before, the retention of an attorney may seem like 1 step closer to completion. Unfortunately, this will not be the case if the attorney with no knowledge of dental practices or just a little bit of knowledge about the subject knows little about the occurrences in a dental practice. This expert attorney will need a lot of assistance in preparing his or her case for the courtroom and proceeding to trial. If the attorney has the humility or lack of ego to request help, the best place for him or her to go with the request is to a dental CPA.
A dental CPA who has had experience with dental practices as well as with dental practice evaluations and evaluations and the courtroom will be the best person to assist the attorney with his or her case. The dental CPA can’t present the case for the client to the court but he or she can prepare the attorney with questions to ask the witnesses so that the judge has a clear understanding of what the dental practice is all about. Since almost all judges are former attorneys, it is rare for them to know much about dental practices as well since they are also less likely to have had a client who was involved with a dental practice when they were practicing attorneys.
Time, money, and frustration felt in preparing for the trial:
For the client, the time spent preparing for the trial can be overwhelming. The hours and days of finding information that is needed for the proof presented when the trial is taking place become a true hardship. The work being undertaken and the time away from working with his or her dental practice becomes a severe financial burden for the client. Patients may start looking elsewhere for their oral care needs if their regular caregiver is not available to them. Constantly switching appointments with their patients is not a good thing to do even though it may not be avoidable as the information gathering seems to never come to an end.
There is also the need for money to pay the attorney and the dental CPA as they spend enormous amounts of time in the preparation of the case for the courtroom. The format for trial must be addressed like it will be going to court or at least to settlement conferences so there really shouldn’t be any skipping in the gathering of data and in its presentation. The frustration by the client is something that is really difficult to quantify since to those who have not been to court, the never-ending requests to gather information and then find more data for responses to depositions and settlement conferences seems surreal.
Time and loss of practice identity
With the hard work and years of identity building spent with the dental practice, the amount of time incurred with the preparation for the trial seems like it is pulling away the work that was done to build the practice. The reputation of employees can be severely affected by the time and money spent on the preparation for the trial as it took away from the relationships that took years to build. The only alternative to end this drain of time and money and loss of dental practice credibility may be a settlement that may cost thousands of dollars more than expected in a trial. This may leave the dentist in an almost impossible situation concerning the options that are available. There is no easy way for the dentist to end this problem where he or she can feel like whatever choice is taken will be the correct one so that his or her life can go on peacefully.
Summary of the steps to take as the divorce process begins:
If the dentist chooses to retain an attorney without the advice of his or her dental CPA, the hope is that the attorney does not possess such a big ego that the advice of the dental CPA is ignored. In the almost perfect situation, the dentist has retained the dental CPA first, and this person then assists with the hiring of the attorney. This is because the dental CPA has probably worked with attorneys in the past who have represented practices during divorce proceedings.
This process allows the dental CPA to know those attorneys who have excelled with their representation of dental practices and those who have not. One of the first things the dental CPA will recommend to the dentist is that he or she retain a dental practice evaluator to prepare a dental practice valuation based on the financial records of the dentist. This will be of the utmost importance for the determination of which party to the divorce case receives what amount of distribution from the dental practice. Sometimes the adverse party does not bother with getting a dental practice valuation. This is not something to be concerned about for the dentist since the mediator or judge will have the dentist’s independent valuation and will have nothing else to use to determine the outcome of the case. Being prepared is extremely important since it is the dentist’s practice that is being looked at for its division.