Choosing to end your marriage is rarely a simple decision, even when both of you understand that it is time to move on. Depending on how long your marriage persists, you and your spouse may have acquired many assets and liabilities: Reaching a fair settlement is no easy task. This is particularly true if your spouse owns a business.
Like real estate, personal vehicles and savings accounts, businesses typically qualify as marital property, in the absence of a prenuptial agreement specifically setting it aside. As you negotiate over how to divide your property, make sure you have a clear understanding of the value of the business and any claim you may have on it.
A strong legal strategy is essential when facing divorce, to keep your rights secure and your priorities protected.
Does the business qualify as marital property?
Although businesses do qualify as personal property, your spouse’s business may not. If they owned the business prior to your marriage, then they may have it set aside as personal property through a prenuptial agreement. If it is protected by a prenuptial agreement, then it probably does not qualify as marital property.
Even without a prenuptial agreement, it may not qualify if your spouse did not involve the family in the business in any meaningful way and kept their personal finances separate from the business finances. However, if they did involve you or your children in the business, or mingle funds between family and business, then it is more likely that you have a strong claim against some of the value of the business.
Understand the value of the business
If you do have a claim on the business, it is in both parties’ best interests to know exactly what the business is worth. It is possible that the business is taking on water financially, which may affect how you negotiate. Married couples share debt as well as assets, so you must take care to avoid getting shouldered with your spouse’s debt unfairly.
You can get a clear picture of the business by having it undergo a professional valuation. Professional valuation looks at every aspect of the business and lays out a detailed assessment so that each party understands its strengths and weaknesses, and can negotiate fairly.
Protect your rights today
You deserve a fair, professional divorce experience, regardless of what brought you to this point. The most effective way to keep your rights protected and achieve your divorce goals is by building a strong divorce strategy using high quality legal tools. The sooner that you begin to build your divorce strategy, the sooner you can focus on your own needs and the hope awaiting you on the other side of this difficult season.