There are many repercussions to filing for divorce – but, for some, the biggest concern is ownership of a business. The process for dividing assets in Florida is known as “equitable distribution,” where equitable means fair, not equal. If you fear losing control of your business (or being forced to share your business with your soon-to-be ex), a divorce attorney can help.
If you have concerns about how your divorce will affect your business, contact our experienced Miami divorce lawyer, Aliette H. Carolan. With a superior degree of professionalism and a genuine interest in your case, our office will help you protect your business.
Can a Divorce Steal Your Business?
In the event of divorce, a forensic accountant may be able to determine how much your business is worth. If you started the business before getting married, your divorce may not impact it. However, if your business increased in value during your marriage, that increase could be considered marital property, and therefore subject to equitable distribution laws.
If your spouse contributed to your business, the entire organization is subject to distribution. The same is true if your business was formed during your marriage.
All of this information aside, every divorce proceeding is different. A court may not require compensation for your spouse with a portion of your business. It could, instead, offer compensation through other assets including your home, vehicles, stocks, and retirement accounts.
The Steps You Should Take
There are a number of steps you can take to protect your business from equitable distribution, including:
- Getting a prenuptial agreement that deems any existing business or future business separate property. This agreement must be written and signed willingly by your fiancé in the presence of a witness.
- Getting a postnuptial agreement with the same language. You should note, however, that not all postnuptial agreements are upheld by the court system.
- Keeping your spouse and your business separate. The more involved your spouse, the bigger the disagreement during divorce proceedings.
- Paying yourself a healthy salary, rather than putting the surplus back into the business.
- Placing the business in a trust, removing its label as a marital asset.
- Creating a buy-sell agreement with provisions that protect your interests in the event of divorce. An experienced divorce attorney can help draft this agreement.
“Paying Off” Your Spouse
If you find yourself unable to protect your business, there are ways to “pay off” your spouse, including:
- Offering other assets including cash, retirement funds, and real estate investments.
- Creating a property settlement note – which is ultimately a long-term payout with interest.
- Selling the business and dividing the remaining cash.
Contact an Experienced Miami Divorce Lawyer for Representation
The divorce process can be frustrating, but an experienced divorce attorney can make it run smoothly. If you have concerns about your ongoing divorce and your business, contact our Miami divorce lawyer at The Law Offices of Aliette H. Carolan by calling (305)-358-2330.