Do you need to divide your business in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2020 | Divorce

When divorcing, you will need to divide your assets. If you own a business, you may be wondering how this will be affected. If there is pre- or post-nuptial agreements in place, it will clarify this. Otherwise, you need to understand how state divorce law works.

Florida divides things into separate property, which you do not need to divide, and marital property, which you do. So, the first thing to understand is which applies to your company.

If you owned the business before marriage, it is usually considered separate property. If you started it during your marriage, it is generally marital property. However, many companies increase in value during the marriage. Let’s use an example:

You owned a small company running fishing tours. It was worth $200,000 when you married. Your spouse used their marketing skills to help grow the company during your marriage, and it is now worth $400,000. They may claim that the increase in the company’s worth would not have happened without them. Thus, they may argue that while the original $200,000 is your separate property, the $200,000 increase is marital property, which you need to divide equitably.

It does not mean you need to give your spouse shares in the company to the value of $100,000. It is just one of many marital assets you have, and it needs to be considered part of the whole equation. It may be best if you retain full control of the business and compensate your spouse through other assets unless you are happy to continue working together.

One of the problems with divorce as a business owner is determining your company’s worth. You may need to get it professionally valued. An attorney can help you understand more.