If you own a business and are facing the prospect of divorce, all kinds of thoughts are probably swirling around in your head. You’re trying to manage the stress and emotions that anyone goes through at the end of their marriage, plus you have additional worries about how to handle your company.
In this article, our Arlington divorce attorneys will offer four tips designed to help business owners successfully get through the marital dissolution process.
1. Keep Your Business and Personal Expenses Separate
Business owners frequently use business accounts to pay for certain personal expenses, like personal cell phones, gas for their cars, and even food. For the most part, you can find a reasonable justification for doing this and there isn’t a lot of cause for worry.
But when you’re heading for divorce, things are different. You can expect your spouse’s lawyer to closely scrutinize any use of business funds to cover expenses that might be classified as personal. Your full financial picture, both professional and personal, is fair game to be evaluated to determine alimony and child support.
The lesson is simple: if you know a divorce is in your future, it’s time to pay close attention to how you pay for everything and don’t use business funds to cover anything personal.
2. Get a Business Appraiser
The value of your company is going to be a key issue in your divorce. When we work with a client, our attorneys offer to refer them to appraisers in the Arlington area who we know are skilled in accurately valuing businesses.
You can also seek an appraiser on your own. If you do, we recommend looking for a Certified Business Appraiser (CBA) or a Master Certified Business Appraiser (MCBA). When you see these certifications, you can be confident that the appraiser has the knowledge needed to put a realistic value on your company.
3. Learn a Little Bit About Texas Property Division
Your lawyer will handle all the details, but it helps if you as a business owner know a little bit about what to expect in the property division process. Getting familiar with property division terminology will help you ask questions and have a better understanding of what your lawyer is saying when they talk to you about it.
To start with, your business is an asset. Under Texas law, assets are subject to division during divorce. If your business was started during the marriage with joint funds, it is considered community property, meaning it is owned 50/50 by the spouses. A company founded before marriage, or founded with one spouse’s separate funds (money earned prior to marriage or received as a gift or inheritance) is separate property.
Usually, a business has elements that are community property and some that are separate. Community interests can arise because, at some point during the company’s existence, joint funds were invested in the business or the company appreciated in value because of both spouses’ contributions, for example.
Characterizing the business as community or separate property can be very complex. You’ll want to be in close communication with your attorney as the process unfolds.
Talk to an Experienced Arlington Business Owner Divorce Attorney
Schneider Law Firm, P.C. has deep experience representing business owners in Arlington and the surrounding areas in their divorces. We understand the issues and will work tirelessly to reach a positive outcome for you. Call 817-799-7125 or contact us online to arrange a free initial consultation with one of our lawyers.