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Business Disputes In Divorce

Dividing a Family Business in Divorce

Many families own and operate family businesses. Deciding how to handle a family business in a divorce can be a difficult issue. Many factors go into valuing a business and deciding how it should be equitably distributed.
Often, the business provides the livelihood for one or both of the parties. The family business may be in the name of one spouse and that spouse may be the primary person responsible for it. However, how a business is named or titled may not be determinative of the issue.

A judge presiding over a divorce will ask pertinent questions to determine an equitable result. Some of the questions a judge might ask include:

* Was the business owned by either spouse prior to the marriage?

* Were marital assets invested in the business?

* Is the business worth more now than at the time of the marriage?

* Did both parties make contributions to the business?

* Did one party perform other tasks that allowed the other to grow the business?

* What is the reasonable value of the business?

* Do the parties want to continue to operate the business or to sell it?

* Is the value of the business based solely on the name of one spouse?

* What are the assets and debts of the business?

If the parties cannot agree between themselves on an equitable distribution of the family business, then a judge will ask these and other questions and will make a decision that he/she thinks is fair and just. The judge will apply the laws of the state to the facts of the situation as presented, will determine the value of the business, will determine which of the parties shall continue to own and operate it, and will determine the amount necessary to compensate the other party for his/her share of the business.

To perform this task, it is often necessary to hire a forensic accountant to assist the court by offering an expert opinion on its value. The DeWitt Law Firm works with clients in finding an expert who can perform a small business evaluation and to determine the marital interest in a family business.

When you are going through a divorce and own a family business, an attorney can help you to protect your rights and can evaluate the facts of your case to determine your interest in a marital business.

Our attorneys at the DeWitt Law Firm have significant experience in the courtroom. We have been trusted by clients in high-stakes cases to deliver quality service and results. Attorney Sherri DeWitt was involved in one of the seminal cases in Florida establishing a spousal interest in a family business.

The DeWitt Law Firm represents its clients with drive and focus. This extends to every area of our representation, including working with leading experts in addressing complex financial issues. Forensic accountants, property appraisers and business valuators are just some of the experts often used by the DeWitt Law Firm to help our clients with complex legal matters that may arise during a divorce.

Our attorneys are pleased to assist clients throughout Central Florida. To contact an attorney at our office in Orlando, Florida, please call (407) 759-3397. You may also e-mail us at DeWitt@DeWittLaw.com.