Divorce proceedings are already complicated. However, the process gets even more complex if one or both spouses own a business and need to divide assets equitably. Something that looks straightforward can become contentious, thus, understanding how a business gets divided during a divorce is essential.
There are two basic types of distribution states; equitable distribution state and community property state. For equitable distribution states, the court divides marital assets in a fair and equitable way, while community property states make an equal division of all marital assets. Even so, the court will usually take into account various factors such as the contribution of each spouse to the business, length of the marriage, and other relevant factors.
If the business is considered a marital asset, the court will need to use either a business valuation expert or an appraiser to determine how much the business is worth. They will also consider other factors such as the assets and debts associated with the business. Once this has been determined, the court will attempt to divide the business assets equitably.
It's worth noting that a business division could transfer all ownership solely to one of the spouses. In the case where the business is considered the separate property of one spouse, the division can be straightforward. Separate property means that the business was owned before the marriage or was obtained through inheritance or gift to just one spouse.
If the spouses cannot agree on the division of the business, the court will need to divide the business's assets for them. In this instance, a court-appointed receiver may be necessary to oversee the daily operations of the company. However, for businesses that are joint-owned, a buyout may be necessary. One spouse may buy out the other spouse's share of the business, and the court will then value the business according to the purchase value.
Divorcing couples with a business to consider face specific legal complexities. As such, it's essential to consult a family law attorney to navigate the complexities of business ownership and protect your legal interests. If you're looking for a family law practice in Orlando, FL, contact Ilvento Law today for more information on how to prepare for a potential business division during a divorce.