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Female doctors should seriously consider prenups

Prenuptial agreements can make a lot of sense for doctors in general, whether they are male or female. However, female doctors in particular may really need them.

Why? They may be more likely to divorce than their male counterparts. The causes behind this divorce rate probably have to do with traditional gender roles that disrupt a woman's work-life balance. For example, a male doctor working long hours may have a wife who takes care of the children and who holds down the home. A female doctor, on the other hand, may be more likely to have a husband with his own out-of-home career, but she could still end up doing the bulk of household chores. This expectation may be her own, subconsciously, or both hers and her husband's. The research actually shows that a female doctor working more than 40 hours a week is one-and-a-half times more likely to divorce, while a male doctor working more than 40 hours is less likely to divorce.

Prenuptial agreements protect you if a divorce occurs

Getting married without a prenup is a gamble, but if someone never divorces, it is a gamble won. So, if a doctor is more likely to divorce, the gamble becomes riskier.

Doctors facing divorce could potentially lose a significant portion of income derived from their practice or the practice itself if it has to be sold off for asset division payments. If a work-life imbalance exists, it may worsen after divorce if the doctor has to work longer hours to maintain two households and to make child support and spousal support payments.

In fact, a married doctor who wishes she could get more time with her children might get even less after a divorce. Prenuptial agreements should not address child support or child custody issues, but they can touch on spousal support issues and help ensure that a doctor has a way of maintaining some kind of work-life balance in the event that a divorce becomes necessary.


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