Protecting Your Business in a Divorce in Tampa

protecting your business in a divorce

If you own a business and have decided to divorce your spouse, you need to engage a divorce lawyer who knows how to protect your business and protect your best interest in a divorce. In a divorce in Florida, your business could be broken apart to satisfy the legal requirement for equitable division of marital property between you and your spouse.

In a contentious divorce, your spouse could claim part ownership of a business you built on your own. Your divorcing spouse might demand that you sell the business and split the proceeds or buy out your spouse at an exorbitant price. Your ex could insert their self into your business following the divorce. Any associated business assets, such as inventory, real estate, or intellectual property, may be considered subject to sharing with your spouse as part of an equitable distribution of marital property.

The experienced Tampa property/asset division lawyers at Florida Law Advisers, P.A., can protect your interests in a family business or other commercial enterprise. Our skilled and strategic representation can help you demonstrate whether a business should be subject to property division. If it is, we can pursue a fair outcome. Contact us by phone or online now for a free consultation.

Is a Business Considered Marital Property in Florida?

Florida’s equitable distribution law requires a divorcing couple’s marital assets and debts to be equitably divided between the parties to the divorce. Marital property would include a business acquired during the marriage, whether acquired individually by either spouse or jointly.

A business one spouse acquired before the marriage might be considered nonmarital property if the other spouse had nothing to do with operating the business.

If the other spouse can show that they contributed in any way to the business’s growth or increase in value, it will be considered a marital asset. Contributions may be in the form of marital funds or sweat equity. So-called sweat equity may range from physical work on behalf of the business or other sacrifices made to support the business’s growth.

The court will presume that some profits from the business were spent on household expenses or other support of the family. Unless you can prove otherwise, this is a commingling of assets, which makes the business marital property.

If you own a business and are headed for divorce in Florida, you need an experienced divorce attorney to develop a plan to protect your interests regarding the disposition of your business.

Determining the Value of a Business During Divorce

In divorce cases, one of the first tasks is to develop an inventory and valuation of the couple’s assets and debts. There are several ways to measure the value of a business, such as:

  • Book value — Book value is based on the assets and liabilities listed in the company’s books, with appropriate adjustments for depreciation or appreciation, as well as income shown in tax returns and other relevant financial records.
  • Market value—This is a comparison of the valuations of similar businesses, taking into consideration your business’s potential for continued earnings and growth.
  • Appraised value — A professional business appraiser or accountant with expertise in business valuation and knowledge of the field can assess the fair market value of the business.

We typically hire a business consultant to examine the books and physical assets of a client’s business, make comparisons within the market, and develop a fair valuation.

You will be required to make your business’s books, physical assets, and other information available to your spouse’s divorce lawyer, and they will come up with a value for the business.

To negotiate the disposition of the business, the legal teams representing the divorcing spouses would need to reach an agreement on a figure for the business’s value.

Options for Business Owners During Divorce

There a five basic options for the equitable distribution of a divorcing couple’s ownership of a business:

  • The business remains intact, and the divorced parties become co-owners.
  • One spouse buys out the other’s interest in the business.
  • One spouse allows the other to assume full ownership in the business in exchange for another piece of marital property of comparable value.
  • The couple sells the business to a third party and splits the proceeds.
  • The business is dismantled, and its assets and debts are divided as part of the equitable division of marital assets.

Negotiating an agreement on the disposition of a business is among the tasks that a divorcing couple must try to complete with their respective legal teams. If the couple cannot agree, they may turn to mediation, in which a neutral third party works with the parties to a dispute to try to help them find a solution. Your divorce attorney would be present at mediation sessions to protect your interests and advise you.

The goal of working with attorneys is to negotiate a marital settlement agreement that can be ratified by the judge as the final divorce decree dissolving your marriage. When spouses cannot agree on the disposition of a business or other issues in a contested divorce, the court must settle disputes and finalize decisions based on each side’s presentation of evidence and testimony.

Contact Our Tampa Property/Asset Division Lawyers

When it comes to business owners and divorce in Florida, it is important to hire a law firm experienced with family law matters and with helping clients equitably divide businesses and other marital property. A skilled Tampa divorce attorney with Florida Law Advisers, P.A., will provide personal attention and advocate for your best interests during negotiations involving the disposition of your business.

Florida Law Advisers, P.A., is a Tampa Bay area law firm with concentrations in family law, child custody, wage garnishment, child support, bankruptcy, and home foreclosure defense. Our entire team is committed to providing high-quality legal representation and personalized service at a reasonable cost. Florida Law Advisers has years of experience representing clients in family law matters and has hundreds of 5-star reviews from clients in Hillsborough County and throughout Central Florida.

Call our Tampa family law attorneys today at (844) 265-2165 or reach out online for a free consultation We are available to answer your calls 24/7 and schedule a consultation with a Tampa property/asset division lawyer. We can guide you through the divorce process.

At Florida Law Advisers, P.A., we are committed to solving your divorce, bankruptcy, and immigration matters. We are a full-service law firm serving clients in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Orlando, and throughout Central Florida.