Getting divorced in Columbus when you own a business can be extremely complicated, particularly if any or all of your business assets and debts are likely to be classified as marital property under Ohio law and subject to division. Whether you own the business with your spouse, you are a sole proprietor, or you own the business with other parties in a partnership or other business structure, it is critical to seek advice from a Columbus divorce attorney as soon as possible. While your case should focus on the particularities of your business circumstances, the following are some general considerations when you own a business and are getting divorced.
Is the Business Marital Property?
Regardless of whether you own the business on your own as a sole proprietor, or you are in business with other parties (one of whom may be your spouse), it will be critical to determine which portion of your business is marital property, or whether your entire ownership stakes in the business will be classified as marital property. This step is essential because it will make clear whether the business is subject to division in the divorce, and whether additional steps are necessary to allow property division and your divorce to move forward.
In general, any business that you bought or opened after the date of your marriage is likely to be classified as marital property. If you purchased the business or opened it prior to your marriage, that portion of the business is likely to be classified as separate property, but earnings during the marriage are likely to be marital property. For most business owners who are getting divorced, at least some portion of the business is likely to be classified as marital property unless it has been expressly excluded from property division through an enforceable prenuptial agreement. Accordingly, any portion of the business that is marital property will need to be divided.
Steps for Dividing Business Assets
Depending upon the structure of your business and the value of its assets, you may have different options for moving forward with property division in your divorce. If you co-own the business with your spouse alone or you are a sole proprietor, it may be possible to buy out your spouse’s interest in the business or to enter into a marital settlement agreement so that you can retain the business and keep it open after your divorce. Or, if you want to sell or dissolve the business, you can take steps to do so, and the assets can be distributed accordingly.
If you co-own the business with other parties, the situation may be more complicated. You may need to find a way to buy out your spouse’s interest or to enter into a marital settlement agreement so that the business does not have to be dissolved. Or, you may need the other co-owners of the business to buy out your interest, which can then be distributed as part of your divorce case.
Contact Our Columbus Divorce Attorneys
Do you have questions about dividing a business in divorce? Our Columbus divorce attorneys can assist you. Contact the Lawrence Law Office for more information.