Among the most valuable assets potentially subject to division during a divorce is a small business. Depending on the history of the business, the court could order half of the business to go to one spouse, even if that spouse had little or nothing to do with the business’ direct operations. This could force the other spouse to sell the business, or give it up to the ex.
This would be an unfortunate result for many business owners, and for the business itself. A spouse with no prior experience or connection to a business, besides being married to its owner, may decide to break it up, or otherwise put in jeopardy what the former owner put hard work into making a success.
Thus, it makes sense that keeping ownership is frequently a top priority for business owners going through divorce. Part of the issue will likely be whether the business is considered separate or marital property. Separate property belongs to one spouse alone, and generally is not subject to division in divorce.
Actually, the process of divorce can itself affect a business’ ability to operate. If the court freezes assets, the business could be crippled.
One thing an experienced divorce attorney will do is to take steps to ensure that the business can continue to operate during the proceedings. This can allow the owner to keep the business healthy and earn an income.
A divorce attorney can also help his or her client keep ownership of the business. This may involve negotiation or strong representation in court.