A closely held business may be one of your most valuable assets — and as such, division of a closely held business in a divorce may be one of the most contested issues. It becomes even more complicated if marital assets unrelated to the business have been pledged as security for debts of the business. Did one spouse contribute time and advice that helped build the business? And, of course, ultimately, what is the true value of the business in the divorce?
Under Florida law, the court begins with the premise that equitable distribution of the assets and debts of the marriage should be equal, unless there is a justification for unequal distribution. Among these potential justifications is the “desirability of retaining any asset, including an interest in a business, corporation, or professional practice, intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party.” That does not necessarily mean, however, that the spouse who is not going to retain an interest in the business is not going to be compensated for his/her share of the business. In this case, having an attorney on your side who understands the complexity of business valuation in a divorce situation is important. Factors to consider include:
Establishing a business value in a divorce is complex and requires the assistance of a skilled divorce attorney in Jacksonville, Florida with experience in this area of equitable property distribution.
Attorney Shane Herbert also contributed to this blog post.