Whether you started a professional practice after finishing graduate school or you inherited the company business from your father, your company may both be one of your largest individual assets and the primary source of income for your household. Obviously, you would want to protect your interest in the company in your upcoming divorce proceedings.
Unfortunately, your spouse may also view the business as an asset that they desire for their future financial stability in your divorce. Do you have to worry about the Georgia family courts dividing your business in your divorce?
The company’s value could be at risk
Some people who already own businesses that the time of their engagements will negotiate prenuptial agreements that clearly designate the business as protected separate property. If those couples eventually divorce, there won’t be any confusion about who has an ownership interest in the business.
For most couples, at least a portion of the business’s value will be marital property. Even If you inherited the business from your parents during the marriage, you may have contributed marital income or assets toward the maintenance of the company. At least a portion of the company may be at risk in your divorce proceedings under equitable distribution rules.
You don’t have to divide the business
Trying to share business ownership with your spouse after a divorce could make it impossible to run the company. The courts won’t automatically force you to share ownership, but they will consider the business’s value when dividing your assets.
If you hope to retain sole ownership of the business, you may need to approach your spouse with a settlement suggestion that gives them other assets worth an appropriate amount in consideration of them giving up their interest in the business. If you do go to court, you may need to present information to the judge presiding over your case regarding the operation of the business and the importance of maintaining sole ownership and management for continued success at the company.
Of course, there’s never any guarantee regarding how judges decide to divide your property when you litigate. Learning more about what to expect in a Georgia divorce can help you prepare and better protect the assets that matter the most to you.