When business owners face divorce, they have many complex issues to deal with that most people never have to contemplate. It is crucial to take the right steps to preserve the viability of the business during the divorce process, and devise a plan for allocating interests fairly. Working with an attorney experienced in handling divorce cases involving business owners is the best way to protect your interests.
The Reade Law Firm, PC we understand how to address the challenges you will need to overcome and can guide you through the decisions and steps involved to find the right options for success. We will work tirelessly to achieve your objectives so you will be positioned to live your best life ahead.
“Your” Business May Not Be Yours in Divorce
Under Massachusetts divorce law, property acquired during the course of a marriage is generally considered to be jointly-owned marital property, even if only one spouse earned, received, or bought it. It doesn’t matter if an earnings incentive was provided to one spouse or only one spouse’s name is on the title of a vehicle. Unless a pre- or postnuptial agreement specifies otherwise, acquisitions during the marriage belong to both spouses. That means they must be divided in divorce.
So if one spouse started a business and the other did not assist at all, the business is still owned by both of them. If a spouse started a business before the marriage, the value of the business that accumulated during the marriage will also generally be marital property.
Developing the Right Plan to Protect Your Business
If you executed a pre or postnuptial agreement that keeps your business as your separate property, then it will not be divided as part of the divorce settlement. If you did create an agreement, you have some work ahead of you. Chances are that you do not want your former spouse to be involved or have continued ownership interest in the business. That means you will need to buy out their share in some way, or sell the business and divide the profits.
If you have a business succession plan that addresses divorce, the terms of that plan can help determine the next course of action. For instance, your plan might establish the means you will use to value the business interests. Valuing a closely-held business, particularly intangible assets such as reputation, can be a very challenging task, and it is often wise to bring in a neutral valuation expert to get a fair value that will stand up to scrutiny in court.
You also need to ensure that the business can continue to function while the divorce is in progress or the value of your enterprise could plummet. At the Reade Law Firm, PC, we can work with you to help you assess your priorities and develop a plan to emerge with the interests that mean most to you.
Business Owners Can Rely on the Reade Law Firm, PC
With so much of your resources and your efforts devoted to your business, you need to take the best possible care of your interests in divorce. We understand, and we are ready to help.
The team at the Reade Law Firm, PC will work to negotiate the terms you want outside of court or, if negotiation fails to produce the right result, we know how to present your best arguments to persuade the judge in court. Protect your future opportunities by contacting us today for a confidential consultation.