handling a business in a North County divorce

Options for Handling a Business in a North County Divorce

Pierre Domercq Divorce

There are many options for handling a business in a North County divorce. If you or your spouse own a business or an interest in a business or professional practice you need the experienced Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq. The questions surrounding a business during a divorce are legally quite complex and the impact on the day-to-day business operations as well as the future of the company needs to be respected and protected to maximize the benefit of all parties.

The first question when handling a business in a North County or Carlsbad divorce is the nature of the asset itself.  Is it a community asset, a separate asset or a blend of the two?  If a spouse owned a business prior to the marriage or used separate funds (such as an inheritance) to acquire a company or professional practice it may be considered a separate asset. If the business itself was inherited during the marriage the nature of the transaction passing control and managing interest to the spouse must be reviewed.

If the community has any interest at all in the business it must be valued. Valuation is often a contentious process as the owner of the business wishes to establish the lowest possible value and the opposing party seeks to maximize the valuation of the business. While there are several methods of valuation, ultimately the parties must reach agreement upon valuation or the court must decide.

Once valuation is established the asset may be divided as part of the community property division process. When a spouse wishes to keep their business they must “offset” the community’s interest in the company with other assets to balance the division of community property. One party may be awarded the family home and all of its equity to offset the award of the business to the other spouse. Investment accounts, retirement accounts and other assets are often used to preserve the business asset.

Handling a business in a North County divorce through negotiations, mediation and ultimately litigation of the complex issues surrounding business ownership in a divorce requires extensive legal skill, expertise and experience. We invite you to review the comments and recommendations of our clients and the decades of experience Certified Family Law Specialists have in Carlsbad and North County divorce cases involving a business or professional practice and contact us or call 760-434-3330 to schedule an appointment.