owned a business before getting married

I Owned a Business Before Getting Married – is this Separate Property?

Pierre Domercq Professional Practice & Business Ownership

We are often asked “I owned a business before getting married.  Am I going to be able to keep it?”

What happens to a business in a North County Divorce?  How is the business handled if one of the spouses owned it prior to the marriage?  How is business ownership divided when the company started during the course of the marriage?

If a person owns the business prior to marriage, the business is generally considered the “separate property” of that spouse.  In many cases, the business will continue to be the sole property of the spouse with ownership interest.

However, there are issues regarding the appreciation of the value of the business during the course of the marriage, as well as complications when marital assets were used to support the business. “Commingling” of community funds with a business asset may distort the designation of the property as a “separate” asset.  If you owned a business before getting married and are considering a divorce or are served divorce papers you need the counsel of our our experienced Certified Family Law Specialists.

If the business was started during the term of the marriage, it will almost always be considered community property, and the community’s interest in the business must be divided equally between the parties.

This does not require the business to be sold.  The process of seeking an agreed upon (or Court ordered) valuation is the basis for determining the community’s interest in the company.  What would the company be worth if it was offered for sale to a willing buyer?  What is the annual gross revenue of the business?  What is the impact of one or both of the former spouse’s Goodwill upon the future prospects for the company?

Business ownership in a North County or Carlsbad divorce is quite legally complex.  The experienced divorce attorneys at Burke & Domercq have decades of expertise in these matters and protect the interests of our clients while ensuring that proper valuation is performed.  We understand the importance of preserving existing business operations and profitability while working through the division of community property during a divorce.

If you or your former spouse own a business or professional practice you need an experienced Carlsbad Certified Family Law Specialist to protect your interests.  We invite you to contact Burke & Domercq or call 760-712-3471 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced lawyers.