When a couple is faced with the dissolution of their marriage there can be contentious battles over child support and division of assets, among other issues. However, sometimes a contentious divorce can turn into a reputation-killing nightmare.
When a Spokane dermatologist and his wife were divorcing, things got ugly. The wife filed an anonymous complaint with Washington state health officials. She alleged her husband partook in medical fraud, cocaine binges in his office, prostitution and sexual relations with patients and staff.
Health officials took the charges public before realizing the anonymous complaint was in fact a bogus tip from the doctor's ex-wife. According to the doctor the public accusations damaged his professional reputation, causing pharmaceutical companies, colleagues and friends to distance themselves. He claims the reach of the humiliation was long enough to affect his school-age children, who were teased as a result of the public accusations.
Once Washington state health officials wrapped up their two-year investigation they realized the source of the accusations led back to the ex-wife. The doctor received $600,000 and a public apology from state health officials to settle the matter. In a separate lawsuit against his ex-wife, the doctor received upwards of $100,000.
If there's one important lesson to be drawn from this case, it's the importance of utilizing professionals in marriage dissolution. By focusing on the issues of child custody and division of assets, legal and mental health professionals can guide the couple through contentious issues using more formal methods of conflict resolution.
Source: CBS News, "Spokane doc gets $600K and apology from state," Sept. 18, 2012