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TX divorce lawyerDivorce involving business owners can be particularly complicated, especially in an Austin high asset divorces. When one or both of the spouses own a business, the division of community property can become extremely complex. The following are just a few special considerations for dividing a business in a high asset divorce. If you have questions or need assistance, you should get in touch with an Austin high net worth divorce lawyer as soon as you can.

Business Appraisals Are Extremely Complicated and Should Be Done Early

Chances are good that much (if not all) of your interests in a business will be classified as community property and will be subject to distribution. Sometimes spouses own a business together, while in other scenarios only one of the spouses is involved in a business. In either circumstance, it will be essential to have a proper business appraisal done to ensure that the court knows precisely how much your business (or business interests) are worth when determining how to divide community property.

Business appraisals are extremely complex and require the skills of an experienced business appraiser. A business appraiser can complete different types of business appraisals, including those for the purposes of selling the business and those for the purposes of identifying the value of a business in a divorce. Businesses can be valued in various ways, as well. For example, a business appraiser can provide a fair market value, which can take into account all intangible assets of the business as well as tangible assets (like equipment and furniture). A fair market value provides a number that reflects what the business might sell for. You can also consider a capitalization of earnings valuation which attempts to calculate the “net present value” of the business based on “its projected future earnings.” In addition to appraising the business, you may also need a valuation of your business stock.

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TX divorce lawyerWhile there are a number of benefits to going into business with other partners, there are also a few drawbacks. For instance, if one partner’s marriage ends, the interests of any other business partners could also be at risk. This is because Texas law requires all divorcing couples to divide their marital property, which includes business assets, equitably. When this happens, the business partner’s ex-spouse could become a shareholder in the business as well, which means that he or she could have a say in how the company operates. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this type of division, so if you have ownership in a business and are dissolving your marriage, or one of your business partners has filed for divorce, please contact our high asset divorce legal team to learn more about your options.

How to Protect Your Business Interests During Divorce

A business partner’s divorce can have important implications for the ownership interests of other partners and shareholders, so it is important for those who own an interest in a business to take certain steps to prevent disruption. For instance, including a contingency for divorce in a business’ ownership, partnership, or shareholder agreement is one of the best ways to protect a business in the event of divorce. These provisions can require a partner’s ex-spouse to sell a business interest that he or she was awarded in any property division settlements following divorce, back to the company itself. It’s important to note that when drafting this type of provision, the parties should ensure that it contains specific terms and conditions for valuing and purchasing the shares. Failing to take these precautions can have serious repercussions down the road, leading to complicated and expensive litigation, which can put a company at risk.

It’s also a good idea to have the spouses of all partners agree to the divorce contingency in writing before any marital discord actually arises, which can help bolster the enforceability of the contract in the event of divorce. Finally, many business partners are strongly encouraged to enter into a prenuptial agreement before getting married, in which, they can specify that business interests remain separate property, even in the event of divorce. Separate property, unlike marital property, remains in the sole possession of the original owner, unless it becomes commingled with marital assets to a significant degree.

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