As you may be finding out (or will shortly find out) no stones are left unturned during divorce proceedings, and virtually nothing will be left unseen by the eyes of the court. This, unfortunately, includes your business interests and business assets.
While it is highly unlikely that the judge or the court will outright strip you of your position in your business or your business assets, you could be on the hook to pay compensation for the business to your estranged wife. Whatever the situation, here’s what you need to know about business ownership during your divorce.
Is a Business Really Marital Property?
While property is generally classified into one of three categories (marital, separate, or hybrid), business interests are generally lumped into the marital property category in some form or fashion. Even if your spouse doesn’t have a vested interest in name to the business, the court can award her compensation based on the valuation of the business and how much she made your business endeavors possible. Even if your business was established before your marriage, if your spouse had a hand in allowing you to work while she kept the home, for example, she might be entitled to compensation. Understanding these facts is important as assuming that your business endeavors are black and white can leave you in a bad situation.
Business Valuation and Divorce
When it comes to the courts, no piece of property, investment, business venture, or asset is left without finding a reasonable value. This, of course, is important when it comes to awarding compensation or splitting property during the final proceedings. Your business isn’t immune to this.
In all likelihood, the court will assign an intrinsic value to your business. In other words, a court-appointed business valuation professional could be the one deciding how much your business is worth. At this point, it’s important for you to understand just where your business stands and be able to defend that position to your best of your ability.
One tool you and your attorney can utilize is a business valuation expert. Instead of leaving a court-appointed valuation expert to seal your fate, hiring or at least working with an expert early in the process can pay big dividends during the proceedings.
Protecting Business Assets During Divorce Proceedings
Hiding any sort of property or assets during a divorce is ill-advised, and it will most likely benefit you throughout your proceedings to be as upfront and forthright as possible as your case is heard. With that said, there are a few ways you might consider protecting your business interests.
As we’ve mentioned above, property can fall under one of three categories in Virginia. One thing you should consider is if any of your property is true separate property. In other words, were any of your business assets or did any of your ownership come about by means of inheritance, gift, formation prior to being married, or from any source that can be tracked to separate property? If you can prove any of these scenarios to the court, you have a higher chance of keeping those interests out of the hands of your estranged wife.
Don’t Hide Your Assets!
Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes anyone can make during divorce proceedings is to hide or manipulate assets in their favor. With business, it can seem pretty appealing to inflate your expenses or try to accelerate your personal or business expenses to make it seem like your profits or personal income is lower. This is not a good idea!
Several reasons make hiding assets a bad idea, but the biggest may be that courts don’t typically look too highly upon individuals who try to hide the facts. The same goes for manipulation. While fudging the numbers a bit may work for a little while, the courts most assuredly will get to the bottom of the inflation, and if your wife knows anything about your business or its assets you’ll be quickly found out!
Being forthright with the courts will go a long way in your divorce proceedings, but instead of wasting time and energy trying to stash away assets, use what you have to get competent legal help from a qualified men’s divorce attorney. If you call the Firm for Men today, you’ll be guaranteed to speak with an attorney that has never represented a woman and will fight for everything you’ve built in your business. Give the skilled lawyers at the Firm for Men a call today at 757-383-9184 and talk to a men’s divorce attorney to get the best counsel on how to keep your hard-earned dollars and your business.