Business Owner Divorce Lawyers in Atlanta Helping You Minimize Your Divorce’s Stress and Financial Costs
Imagine the scenario: You and your spouse decide to open a business together. You become successful and make a significant amount of income from the business. Suddenly, you and your spouse are no longer able to get along, you file a divorce based on irreconcilable differences, and you must figure out the valuation of your business for property division.
Unfortunately, this is a reality for many spouses. Owning a business makes an already difficult situation even more challenging to overcome without contention. After all, both parties may want to stake a claim to the business, the ideas and trademarks, and of course, the income that comes with it.
In a divorce involving a business, it’s essential to recognize how the court determines division, what factors play a role involving income, and what happens when the two parties cannot agree. At Atlanta Family Law Group LLC, our business owner divorce lawyers can help you through this process and protect your interests. The attorney-client relationship is important to us in a divorce case. Give us a call at 404-738-5805 for help from a divorce attorney protecting your finances in a divorce.
What Type of Property is Considered in a Divorce?
In Georgia, courts follow the equitable distribution model when dividing property between divorcing spouses. This means that the court will split the property in a “fair and equitable” manner, but not necessarily equally. The court uses several factors to determine what is fair and equitable.
Like other property and assets in a divorce, a business or professional practice are to be divided between the spouses based on their valuation and whether they are marital or separate property. Businesses that are separate property can have some aspects that make the income earned marital property. It’s important to have a lawyer help you understand what to do next. The property generally considered in a divorce are:
Typically, businesses that the two spouses start together after they wed are considered marital property. The courts will treat them as such. All past and future income earned from the business are split between the two parties per the court order.
In some situations, one spouse may have owned the business before he or she met his or her significant other. Through the course of the marriage, the spouse with the business may decide not to put the other spouse’s name on the business, thus making it a separate property.
However, you should know that the income made by the business during the marriage can be considered marital property. So, even though one spouse owns the business, the income or assets from the income made during the marriage can be split during property division. This means any homes or cars bought during the marriage, even if it was from money made by the business, are considered marital assets.
What Does the Business Owner Divorce Process Look Like?
In a divorce, the first thing that courts will look at is whether the business is considered marital or separate property. Marital property is anything that was acquired during the marriage, while separate property is anything that was owned before the marriage or inherited by one spouse. If the business is considered marital property, it will be subject to equitable distribution, which means it will be divided fairly between the two parties, but not necessarily evenly.
However, if the business is considered separate property, then it won’t be subject to equitable distribution and will remain with the owning spouse. The next thing courts will consider is whether either spouse contributed to the business’s growth during the marriage. If one spouse can prove they were essential to the business’s growth, they may be able to receive a greater share of the business in the divorce.
Once courts have decided how to classify the business, they will then need to determine its value. This is often done by hiring a professional appraiser who can look at the business’s assets and liabilities and give it an accurate worth. After the business has been valued, courts will then divide it between the two spouses based on their contribution to its growth and development.
How Does the Court Value a Business for Divorce Purposes?
When valuing a business for divorce purposes, the court will primarily look at the fair market value of the business. Fair market value is defined as the price that a willing buyer would pay to a willing seller when neither party is under duress, and both know all relevant facts. In determining the fair market value of a business, the court will consider various factors, including:
- The nature of the business
- The economic conditions surrounding the industry in which the business operates
- The company’s financial statements
- The value of its assets
- The opinions of experts (appraisers, accountants, etc.)
Once the court has determined the fair market value of the business, it will then decide how to divide the value between the divorcing parties. The court will consider a variety of factors in making this determination, including:
- The length of the marriage
- The contributions of each spouse to the business (e.g., financial, managerial, etc.)
- The future earning potential of each spouse
- The needs of each spouse and any minor children
If you are going through a divorce and own a business, it is important to have an experienced family law lawyers in Atlanta on your side who can help you protect your interests. The attorneys at Atlanta Family Law Group LLC have extensive experience handling business valuations in divorce cases and can help you ensure that your business is valued fairly. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
What Happens if Spouses Cannot Agree on Business Division?
In many divorces involving businesses, the spouses must work out an agreement on what to do with the business and how to divide it. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the easiest process, and the spouses may not be able to work together on the outcome.
Some situations allow for an amicable resolution, meaning the two parties can work together to continue to run the business and fairly split the profits. However, if the two parties are unable to work together, it’s highly doubtful that one spouse is willing to give up the value the business brings to their life to the soon-to-be ex-spouse.
In situations where parties cannot agree, the court may ask the parties to sell the business and split the profits that they bring in. This is similar to other properties that the couple may own together. The business is sold at a specific price, and the courts use those funds to continue with property division manners.
In a divorce, it’s typically one party that initiates the process. In the case of business owners, this may mean that the one who files for divorce has time to plan what they’re doing and try to hide assets that come in from the business. For instance, the filing spouse may set up a separate, hidden bank account to take a portion of the profits to try and avoid property division.
It’s important to recognize the potential of hidden assets in a divorce involving a business and how it may affect your resolution. Working with a legal professional can give you access to resources—such as forensic experts—who can track down any hidden assets and work to ensure they are part of the property division process.
Our Atlanta divorce attorneys at Atlanta Family Law Group LLC have significant experience helping individuals divorce, even when businesses and high net worth are involved. We work hard to protect our client’s rights and best interests throughout a high-asset divorce and prevent spouses from taking advantage of one another.
Let our compassionate and dedicated team be your guides from start to finish. Contact a family law attorney at our firm today to discuss your divorce and learn how we can protect you and your family.
How can a Lawyer Help Me in a Business Owner Divorce?
When you are a business owner, the process of getting a divorce can be complicated. You not only have to deal with the emotional aspects of the situation, but you also must think about the practical implications for your business. This is where a business owner divorce lawyer in Atlanta can help.
An experienced attorney will know how to protect your interests and those of your business during a divorce. They can help you negotiate a settlement that is fair to both parties and ensures that your business can continue to thrive after the divorce.
If you are facing a business owner divorce, here are some ways a divorce lawyer at our firm can help:
- Valuing Your Busines
- Dividing Business Assets
- Protecting Your Interests
- Negotiating a Settlement
- Filing for Divorce
- Handling Your Business During the Divorce
If you are going through a business owner’s divorce, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side. The Atlanta Family Law Group LLC has helped many business owners through their divorces, and we can help you too. Contact us today at 404-738-5805 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.