Any divorce can get complicated when we get to the part where property gets split up between both spouses. The presence of a family-owned business can make this process even more complex. Many people wonder if they are entitled to a share of their spouse’s business when they get divorced. The answer can vary, so it is probably wise to get a Tazewell County divorce with a business lawyer to take a closer look at your situation.
When is a Business Considered Separate Property?
A business is like any other property in a divorce. It can be considered a separate property or a marital property. A separate property belongs to one spouse and is not subject to the property distribution process in a divorce. A company can be considered separate property if:
- One spouse owned and operated the business before the marriage occurred
- The company was passed down to one spouse specifically
- The spouse who owned the business was the only one who had a role in running it
So if the business predated the marriage, it is often considered a separate property. However, there are still times when a business that fits these parameters can instead become a marital property, and you would be owed some portion of the business in that kind of situation.
When Will a Business Be Considered Marital Property?
When a business is seen as marital property, it needs to be part of the property distribution process. A company can be seen as a marital asset when:
- It was started during the marriage
- Both spouses have a part in running it
- Both spouses are bringing something to the business that increases its value
If you are running a company together, it is likely that it will be considered a marital asset. However, even if you did not directly contribute to the day-to-day affairs of the company, you may still have a claim to some of its value. A common example of this is when one spouse stays home, handling the bulk of the homemaking and childcare duties while the other spouse focuses on growing the business. In this situation, the spouse who played a critical supporting role may be able to claim a share of the company when the couple divorces.
Do I Need a Divorce Lawyer?
Even if you and your spouse are on good terms, the divorce process can be tricky. This is especially true if you are trying to divide up a family-owned company. It can be helpful to have a more objective professional on your side. A lawyer can help you ensure that your interests are protected throughout the entire process and that you get any assets that you are legally entitled to.
Schedule a Consultation With Our Law Firm
If you have any questions about what happens to a spouse’s company during a divorce, we are ready to help you. Contact Butler, Giraudo & Meister, P.C. today. We can schedule a consultation and tell you more about how our law firm can be of assistance.