Divorce is never a simple endeavor, but things can get especially complicated when one or both parties have business interests that may be subject to division. Determining who has a stake in what, determining property and holdings values, and deciding what the future of a business will look like after the dissolution of a marriage are all multi-faceted questions that require assistance from qualified legal counsel to resolve.
If you are concerned at all about how your divorce will impact your business interests, you should strongly consider retaining a divorce lawyer experienced with helping business owners in Austin. A seasoned divorce attorney who has handled cases like yours successfully before could work tirelessly to protect your financial security and the future prospects of your business.
Does a Business Count as Community Property?
The most important question to ask when one or both parties to a divorce maintain business interests is whether those business interests are subject to distribution during divorce proceedings. Any property acquired or accrued by either spouse during their marriage is considered community property, and divorce courts generally divide all community property evenly between both spouses.
If the creation date of a business or business asset precedes the beginning of the marriage being dissolved, the owner of that business or business asset generally does not have to worry about losing any part of its value to their soon-to-be former spouse. However, if it is not clear exactly when an asset first came into one party’s possession, it may be important to work with an Austin business owner divorce attorney to collect and present documentation proving that the asset qualifies as separate property rather than community property.
Dividing Jointly Owned Business Assets
If a business asset owned by one party to a divorce counts as community property, or if two spouses jointly hold business interests and/or own a business together, the next step in the property division process is ensuring a fair and accurate valuation of every asset subject to division. Valuation should take into consideration both assets and liabilities, as well as certain non-liquid elements of the business like intellectual property.
The most straightforward way to evenly split the value of collective business interests between two divorcing spouses is to simply sell the business or liquidate all assets and divide the profits 50/50. However, this is far from the only way this issue can be addressed. For example, courts may be open to an arrangement where one party retains the business and all business assets in their entirety, in exchange for paying the other spouse community interest from the business or awarding them all non-business-related real property from the marriage.
If both parties to a divorce consent to it, it may alternatively be possible to set up a joint ownership agreement through which two former spouses can operate their business together while remaining separated in their personal lives. A knowledgeable divorce lawyer could walk individual Austin business owners through these and other options during a private consultation.
An Experienced Austin Attorney Could Help Business Owners Through Divorce
Whether you have a sole proprietorship, a stake in a massive corporation, or anything in between, protecting your business interests should be a high priority during divorce proceedings. Fortunately, there is significant help available in that regard from legal professionals who know how cases like yours work and what the best strategies might be for preserving your future prospects.
Working with a divorce lawyer for business owners in Austin could make a huge difference in how smoothly and amicably your divorce proceeds and concludes. Call today to learn more.