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Dividing a Family Business in Divorce

Dividing a Family Business in Divorce

When a family business is part of the marital estate, the already complex asset-division process becomes even more complicated. This is especially true when the spouses launched the business together. Continuing to jointly operate a business isn’t feasible for most ex-spouses, so it’s generally necessary to divide the business or its value in a fair manner.

There are several options for dividing business assets during divorce:

  • The most straightforward option is to simply liquidate the business and divide the proceeds between the spouses. This approach may not be prudent, however, if the business is thriving. It also may have adverse tax consequences. 

  • An alternative that keeps the business intact is to allocate the entire business to one spouse and compensate the other spouse with a greater share of other marital assets. In effect, one spouse buys the other out. This, however, raises complex business valuation issues. It also can be impractical if the business represents the bulk of the marital assets.
    • Another option is to transfer management of the business to a third party but reserve income interests for each spouse. This is not an option, however, when the spouses want to remain actively involved in the management of the company.

Business and Divorce Disputes

When a couple decides to break up, there are a number of things needing settling between them. Unfortunately, all too often the parties are bogged down in major battles over minor issues. Sometimes anger and bitterness can get the best of one or both of them.

A skilled divorce lawyer can help negotiate through the areas of dissension. Your lawyer has been through the difficult phase that often arises and knows how to argue for fairness in your breakup.

The areas where disputes arise include the following:

      • Spousal support. The amount of maintenance or alimony, and who pays it to which party.
      • Child support. How much support is owed for any children and who pays what amount.

      • Visitation. Holidays and vacations as well as regular visits need resolving.
      • Child custody. Custody can be joint, shared, or sole.
      • Division of property and debts. Marital and non-marital assets must be determined and apportioned, and so must outstanding debts.

When children are involved, the best interests of the child are paramount in a divorce. The parties must learn to keep their squabbles to themselves and not use their children as a bargaining chip. Support and visitation are completely separate issues that do not depend on each other. After your divorce, when circumstances change, you can seek a modification to the terms of the order. This applies for issues such as increased visitation, change in custody, and change in support.

Social Media and Divorce

With 500 million Facebook visitors each month, social media networking is now a way of life. But another noteworthy statistic is the growing number of divorce cases that stem from incriminating posts on networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.

According to a survey by the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), 81 percent of divorce attorneys saw an increase in the number of divorce cases using social networking evidence in the past five years. Two-thirds of these lawyers cited Facebook as the primary online evidence source.

Social networking sites and texting are fertile territory for striking up romances without raising red flags the way phone calls can. Other factors that make social networking a rich source of evidence include the following:

      • People can spontaneously tweet or post thoughts
      • It is easier to share personal feelings electronically than face-to-face
      • Forensic computer specialists can retrieve deleted electronic information
      • Third-parties can post incriminating photos and stories about your activities

Photos of a spouse drinking beer at a party or posts boasting of lavish purchases and vacations can negatively impact divorce, especially child custody, child support, or property division battles.

In divorce cases, there is considerable debate over the line between the right of discovery and the invasion of privacy, both of which are protected by federal and state laws. If you have questions about the use of social media networking evidence, you should consult a knowledgeable divorce lawyer who can protect your best interests.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer who can Divide the Family Business

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506