It’s going to complicate things.
Indeed, there is no question that the complexity is going to ratchet up materially in a divorce when the fate of a family-owned business is on the agenda. Divorcing parties that have a business to focus upon while negotiating end-of-marriage terms are fortunate to have such an asset in play, but also likely to have a bit of angst regarding all the variables.
Questions might reasonably abound. Did one party start the enterprise prior to marriage and thereafter seek to shelter it as separate property shielded from later division in the event of a divorce? Was the business addressed in a prenuptial agreement? Is it the focus of an existing trust? Did only one of the impending exes work in the business during marriage, or were both spouses active contributors in its operation and success?
And how should the business be valued if divorcing parties or a court determine that its worth is to be equitably distributed in a marital dissolution?
We address that latter challenge on our website at the established Arkansas family law firm of Robertson, Oswalt, Nony & Associates. Our attorneys have a deep well of experience representing business owners in divorces featuring complex property division. Business valuation and an attendant equitable outcome between divorcing spouses is often a core focus of that advocacy.
Dealing with a family business during divorce can be a chore, but it can also be an exercise marked by upside and a positive outcome that benefits both divorcing parties as they embark on a new stage of life. We welcome contacts to our firm and the opportunity to provide further information.