How Divorce Affects Your Business if You Co-Own With Your Spouse
by Debbie Nguyen
What happens to your family-owned business when you get divorced? This is especially important for Baby Boomers who have a lot of equity tied up in their businesses.
Finding yourself facing a divorce at this time of your life can be very hard. You have dedicated so much time and energy to this marriage, only to have it fall apart right when things should be at their best. This situation is compounded when there is a personal business involved.
Family Business and Divorce
Women must take a look at the situation and determine the legal makeup of the business, the impact that they had on the business, and their livelihood from the business to ensure that they receive a fair settlement in the divorce.
Some states require alimony to be granted to the wife, regardless of any other part of the assets they receive. In Florida at this time, the alimony laws are undergoing revision. Attorneys from all over the country are closely watching the outcome of these laws. No matter what state you live in, research divorce attorneys in Orlando Florida. It would be to your advantage if your lawyer is abreast of these changes and how it might affect you. It is anticipated that Florida is going to do away with mandatory alimony.
Every Situation Is Different
While it is easy to talk in generalizations about the impact of divorce, every case is indeed unique and requires professional legal representation. Dividing up a business can be more complicated than dividing up a family. There are no exact “rules” for this situation, only guidelines. Each divorce will have to be approached as a separate and individual case.
Who Owns The Business?
Is the business listed as a sole proprietorship in your husband’s name? Or is it a partnership or corporation with your name included on the paperwork? This can make a large difference in the settlement.
If your husband is the sole owner of the company, you can still sue for a part of the company, but you will need to prove that the company either benefited from your personal contributions, or was your sole form of support.
Did You Work For The Business?
Did you contribute to the business as an employee? A partner? A volunteer employee? Your status at the company will determine how much of the company is rightfully yours.
If you did not work for the business, was the business the means for your support? Just because you stayed home to raise the family or manage the household does not mean that you are not entitled to a portion of the company. In fact, if this was your only means of support, the Court most likely will award you half the value of the business so that you will have a means of support.
Your attorney will have to review everything from employment records to bank records. The paperwork for the business will be subpoenaed and reviewed to see if ownership can easily be determined. In addition, private assets, collective assets, and family heirlooms will all be brought into the picture and divided at the divorce.
This is not a simple divorce in any manner, and it will require skilled counsel to represent you to ensure that you receive a fair distribution from the company and the personal belongings. It will be a trying and emotional time, but with the assistance of your attorney, family and friends, you will make it through.
Debbie Nguyen is a blogger and designer in the Atlanta area.
More Divorce Articles for Baby Boomer Women:
What do you think of this article? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Neither Debbie nor I are attorneys, but this is Tina Boomerina talking to you right now, as a survivor of two divorces, and my advice is to contact an attorney as soon as you think divorce is on the horizon. You don't have to follow through with the divorce, but you should know your options.
Photo Resource: Main photo is creative commons from Victor1558 on flickr.com.
What do you think of this article? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page or give us a Google Plus.