Family-Owned Businesses & Divorce

High-net-worth divorces present unique challenges mainly due to the nature of the assets involved. Attorneys who have experience handling them possess the ability not only to understand the value of an asset but the amount it can appreciate over time. Why is this important? Your assets will be subject to equitable distribution when you get divorced in New Jersey. Although this does not guarantee a 50/50 split, it doesn’t rule it out either. 

There is a fundamental difference between separate and marital property. If you receive an inheritance or a gift, it will likely be viewed as separate property that will not have to be shared or divided during the divorce process. The things you acquire as a married couple are marital assets. 

Splitting a Business

Even if you started a business before you were married or inherited it, that doesn’t mean the company is yours entirely. For instance, did the business appreciate while you were married? If so, those profits could be treated as a marital asset. One of the reasons it is so critical to have an attorney who understands high-net-worth divorces is because there is no objective formula that can be used to determine which spouse gets what. You and your spouse’s attorneys can negotiate to arrive at an equitable distribution of your assets. 

To negotiate successfully, your attorney must understand how much an asset, e.g., your business, is worth. Imagine that you are willing to give up your interest in the marital home and keep the business in exchange. Before that can happen, an appraiser may have to value the house, and another person would conduct a business valuation. 

These experts arrive at a “fair value” of the business instead of a “market value.” Fair value is the actual worth of the business. In contrast, market value considers the nature of the market and other economic factors such as the current supply and demand surrounding your business. 

From there, you and your attorney have several options. You can sell the business, divide the profits, buy the other spouse out, or even continue running it together. This must be factored into the value of the rest of your assets (i.e., cars, homes, savings, retirement accounts, investments) and how they are getting divided. 

Csépes Law Offices

Although a high-asset divorce will follow the same process as any other divorce, you need an attorney who understands how to account for business interests, multiple homes, and asset-protection tools such as trusts. Allow Csépes Law Offices to represent you and your interests. Contact us today and schedule a consultation.

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