Being Aware of Important Factors
Assets division is a complex yet necessary part of a divorce, and for business owners, this step could mean a bit of anxiety over what might happen to the fruits of their labor. No one who has worked hard to start a business wants to see it disappear or change during a divorce.
Business owners should keep several key factors in mind as they prepare to go through a divorce. Awareness of these considerations could mean a better strategy for protecting what you’ve built.
Marital vs. Nonmarital Property
One of the first considerations to think of as it relates to a business and divorce is when the business was started. Whether an asset was acquired before or during marriage impacts whether or not that asset is up for division in a divorce. If you started your business during your marriage, then it is considered marital property and would be up for division; if you entered your marriage owning your business, then it is considered separate property.
Note, however, that if your business is considered separate property yet the profits you made intermixed with other money made during your marriage (meaning it was kept in the same account as other funds or something similar), then that money is considered marital property and would be up for division.
The Principle of Equity
Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning that all marital property must be divided in a fair and just manner during a divorce. Note that while sometimes property division can end in an equal split of assets, equitable does not mean equal all the time; it is possible for one spouse to walk away with more based on the interest of fairness.
What does this mean for your business? It’s possible that you may have a better chance of walking away from the divorce with your business interests intact; however, you may need to be willing to give up other assets to your spouse in order to maintain full control over your business. It also places a great deal of importance on ensuring you have placed an accurate value on your business assets; failure to do so could mean property division that is not truly equitable.
Speaking with a Manasota Attorney
Property division can be difficult to work through regardless of business ownership. In order to arm yourself with the best defense, it’s important to work with an attorney who understands Florida divorce law and can guide you on the best course of action at each step. At Schipani, Norman & McLain, P.A., our team can help you understand equitable division and how you can best protect your interests and your business.
To learn more about divorce in Florida or to speak with one of our attorneys, call us at (941) 499-8154 or visit us online.