Is a small business part of the assets in your divorce?

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

Going through a divorce is challenging on many levels, and it is certainly not for the faint-hearted. When it comes to the division of assets, the process can become significantly more complicated if a small business forms part of the assets in a New Jersey divorce. Matters to consider include whether the business was established before the date of the marriage, and the value of the spouse’s personal investment into the company before the wedding.

Documentation will have to show the cash flow and the assets as recorded before the nuptials, and the growth of the company during the marriage. The extent of the other spouse’s involvement, both financial and physical contributions, will likely also play a role in the division of the business assets. These are the issues that will determine whether a portion of the concern will be regarded as separate property.

Gathering the necessary business records is crucial in the quest to protect a small business. The required financial documents include all accounting records, bank statements and business agreements, along with the current value of the company as determined by a professional. Two of the more popular methods of fair division of a small business involve one spouse buying the other one’s share and paying it off in installments, or giving up other assets in exchange for ownership of the company.

The entire process can be simplified by retaining the services of an experienced divorce attorney. Legal counsel can explain the applicable New Jersey laws, and suggest the best steps to ensure the protection of business assets. With the support and guidance of an attorney, it might be easier to focus on the business aspects instead of the emotions that might be difficult to control.

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