Divorce is complicated and the process of dividing marital property during a divorce can be messy and contentious, and this is especially true in cases where one or both spouses own businesses. Because of the high income levels and valuable business assets involved, divorce for business owners in San Diego tends to be particularly complex, and these cases require a careful hand in determining whether the business constitutes separate or marital property and accurately assessing the value of the business assets. If you own a business and you are considering filing for divorce in San Diego, or if your spouse has filed or is planning to file for divorce, your first course of action should be to consult a skilled attorney with experience handling business owner divorce cases. Our divorce lawyers at (619) Divorce have more than a decade of experience handling all manner of divorce and family law issues in San Diego and the surrounding area, and we can help you protect your assets in your divorce.
Table of Contents Divorce For Business Owners San Diego
Experienced San Diego Business Owner Divorce Lawyer
Professionals, business owners and other high-asset individuals face unique challenges in a divorce, the most critical being preventing their spouse from gaining control over a business they started or acquired during or prior to the marriage. Business ownership is a complicated matter that must be carefully addressed during a divorce, and if your spouse wants full or partial control of your business, you will need an aggressive and experienced business owner divorce attorney in your corner who can protect your rights and assets. At (619) Divorce, we are familiar with the arguments that can be successful in protecting business owners’ rights in San Diego, and we will work tirelessly to advocate for you and represent your best interests in your divorce case.
Divorce can be emotionally and financially costly, especially when it comes to determining the fate of a company, and for business owners concerned about the future of their business, only a qualified San Diego divorce attorney can help you sort through the complexities of divorce for business owners. At (619) Divorce, our knowledgeable divorce lawyers specialize in guiding business owners and other high net worth individuals through the divorce process, with a clear focus on protecting their business interests and other assets. We even offer a free consultation, which allows potential clients the opportunity to discuss their divorce case with an experienced San Diego divorce attorney, with no obligation to hire our firm. Consult our law firm today for a free evaluation of your San Diego business owner divorce case.
Divorce for Business Owners in San Diego
If you own a business and you and your spouse are getting a divorce, you are probably wondering how the divorce will affect your business. One of the most complex components of San Diego divorce cases is the ownership and management of privately-owned businesses, and the primary issue business owners getting divorced in San Diego face is determining whether all or a portion of their business constitutes community property, so the business assets can be properly assessed and allocated. California divorce laws are complicated and confusing, and depending on the origin and growth of your business, it could either be considered separate property or community property subject to division in divorce. Our San Diego divorce lawyers at (619) Divorce have experience in all matters pertaining to divorce for business owners, including handling the following critical issues:
- Business ownership by one or both spouses
- Business valuation
- Division of business assets
- Property characterization
- Hidden assets
- Tax consequences of property division
- Prenuptial agreement disputes
- Postnuptial agreements disputes
Common Issues Affecting Business Owners in Divorce
The most contentious issue affecting business owners getting a divorce in San Diego is the division of marital property. When it comes to divorce, the state of California follows community property laws, which consider all property and assets acquired by the couple during the marriage, community property. Couples in San Diego share equal ownership of community property and, absent a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement stating otherwise, this property will be divided equitably in divorce, which means your spouse may be entitled to partial ownership of your business if you acquired the business during the marriage or started the business with your spouse. However, if you owned your business prior to the marriage, it may be considered separate property, which is not subject to division in a San Diego divorce proceeding.
Marital property division is a contentious subject in any divorce proceeding, and even the most amicable divorces in San Diego can quickly turn ugly and combative when business ownership comes into question. Depending on the outcome of your divorce case, you could either find yourself working alongside your ex-spouse for the foreseeable future, or you could end up embroiled in a costly legal battle to keep the company from being sold out from under you.
Business Valuation in a San Diego Divorce
The first step in a San Diego divorce that involves business owners and/or high-asset individuals is to get a clear picture of the couple’s separate and marital property, and that means identifying and accurately valuating the couple’s marital assets and any businesses owned by the couple. When a business is involved, the court will be tasked with anticipating the future growth of the company and calculating the time and energy both spouses contributed to its success in order to devise a fair and reasonable plan for dividing the assets in divorce, which could mean assigning total control of the business to your spouse or selling the company and splitting the proceeds equally. Because community property is divided equally or as equally as possible in San Diego divorce settlements, getting an accurate estimate of what your business is worth is the first step towards devising a fair plan for dividing the business or buying out your spouse. At (619) Divorce, we have extensive experience working with forensic accountants, financial advisors and other financial experts who can assist us in examining your business records and take an accurate inventory of your income and assets, including your business or businesses. Remember that under California’s community property law, not all property and businesses owned by the couple is considered community property. Our legal team can ensure that the court establishes a fair and equitable agreement for the division of your marital property, while protecting your separate property.
Is My Business Separate or Community Property?
There are many different possible outcomes business owners getting a divorce in San Diego can face, and when it comes to protecting your business during the divorce proceedings, the origin of the company will likely play an important role in how this plays out. For example, you may have started the business with your spouse, or it may be a family business you inherited from your parents. You may have owned the business prior to the marriage and kept it separate from your marriage, or you may have owned the business prior to the marriage and allowed your spouse to play a significant role in its management and growth. How and when the business was started and who contributed to its growth are the key points in categorizing a business as separate or community property. The following are some common business ownership scenarios in San Diego divorce cases.
You and Your Spouse Own the Business Together
If you acquired the business during your marriage, or if you and your spouse started the business together, and you both have a say in how the business is run, the business would likely be considered community property under the law. If this is the case, and you want to retain control of the business and continue running it on your own, you may have to buy out your spouse or offset the business interest with other marital property within the divorce settlement agreement.
You Inherited the Business from Your Parents
There are some important exceptions to California’s community property laws, and that includes property inherited by a spouse during the marriage. If you inherited the business from your parents and kept the business completely separate from your marriage, the business is considered separate property and your spouse will not be entitled to half of the business assets in divorce. However, if your spouse’s name was added to the business paperwork and he or she had a say in the business proceedings, or the business grew as a direct result of your spouse’s involvement, it may be considered community property to be divided equitably in divorce.
You Owned the Business Prior to Your Marriage
If you owned and operated a thriving business prior to your marriage and your spouse did not contribute to the business and had no control over the business proceedings during the marriage, the business will likely be considered separate property, which means it would be yours to keep after the divorce. However, if you invested marital funds in the business or your spouse contributed to the business and helped it grow, it could be transmuted into community property, in which case your spouse could be entitled to a portion of the business assets.
How a Skilled Business Owner Divorce Lawyer Can Help
We know that you have worked hard to build up your business and we understand the importance of protecting the future of your business in divorce. Our main goal at (619) Divorce is to help you retain maximum ownership and control of your business or businesses during your divorce, and that means gathering any evidence in support of the fact that you started the business or contributed your own money and time to establishing and growing the business, separate from your marriage. Business ownership is complicated in marriage and it becomes even more complicated in divorce, and that is the main reason many San Diego couples who own businesses and other high-value assets decide to sign a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, to make provisions for the division of property should the marriage end in divorce.
Our divorce lawyers at (619) Divorce have extensive experience representing San Diego business owners in divorce and we understand the importance of determining whether a business constitutes separate or marital property, and accurately valuating the business if it is to be divided in the divorce. We have a clear understanding of San Diego divorce law and how it applies to your specific case, and we will use every resource at our disposal to help you get the best possible outcome in your divorce, including securing ownership of your business and your business assets, if possible. If your business is and always has been separate from your marriage, we can help you protect the business during the San Diego divorce process. On the other hand, if you and your spouse share equal ownership of the business, we can help you devise a fair financial compensation arrangement for his or her part in establishing or growing the business, so you can maintain control of the company after your marriage has been dissolved.
Consult Our San Diego Business Owner Divorce Lawyers
When you are faced with divorce as a business owner in San Diego, you need the help of an aggressive and knowledgeable divorce lawyer who can provide you with competent and effective legal representation. Our attorneys at (619) Divorce are committed to helping business owners in San Diego make sound decisions about their business interests in divorce, and we will fight for your rights throughout the divorce process, including representing you in court, if necessary. Protecting your assets is our top priority, and we will be thorough in evaluating your case and exhaustive in advocating for your interests. There are a number of steps you can take to secure your business and assets in the event of a divorce, and we can ensure that you understand your legal options and which option gets you the best outcome. Business owners in San Diego typically have the most to protect – and the most to lose – and we can help you devise a strategy that is most beneficial to you. Contact our San Diego divorce lawyers at (619) Divorce today to discuss your legal options.