Facing Divorce As A Business Owner
Divorce is often a complicated process, though owning a business all but guarantees it. If you own a business or have a significant interest in a business and you are thinking about divorce, make sure you have a divorce lawyer who understands the issues involved.
My name is Amilcar J. Perez, founding attorney of Perez Family Law. I have the experience and knowledge you need to protect your interests as a business owner facing divorce. I have been helping individuals and families in southern New Jersey with difficult family law matters for over 15 years.
Will Your Business Be Divided?
For many business owners thinking about divorce, their first question is whether they will have to divide their business with their spouse. The answer depends on many factors. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning that a judge can use their discretion when dividing marital property based on a number of factors to come to a fair and equitable split.
The judge will only divide the business interest if it is considered marital property, however. If you owned the business prior to your marriage, the judge may consider it separate property, which you can keep.
If your business grew during the marriage, however, or your spouse worked at the business or contributed to it in any way, the court may consider part of that growth marital property. And if you started or purchased the business during your marriage, the court will certainly treat it as marital property, subject to division. High-value assets can certainly make the process more complicated, but I will guide you through each step and safeguard your interests.
What Are Your Options For The Future?
The good news is that if you and your spouse can negotiate a settlement agreement regarding your property, the court will likely accept that. This puts the power back in your hands as a divorcing couple to determine your own future. You have a few options, assuming you can agree on a way forward, including:
- One of you keeps the business – If you agree that one of you will continue with the business, that spouse can buy the other spouse’s interest. For example, you can buy your spouse’s interest either using cash or by offsetting the property division using your share of other marital property.
- You sell the business – If neither of you is interested in keeping the business, you can always sell or dissolve the business and add the money to the pool of marital assets.
- You both keep the business – Although this option poses obvious difficulties for a divorcing couple, you could both keep your interest in the business and continue to run it as you have been.
No matter what you choose, you will likely need to have a professional business valuation completed. This will give you both a better understanding of the actual value of your business and may help you decide how to proceed.
Learn More In A Free Phone Consultation
I am happy to discuss your options further and how they may work in your personal situation. Call my office in New Brunswick at 732-201-6435 to schedule a free phone consultation. You can also reach out to me online. I speak both English and Spanish. Se habla español.