Division of personal property is often among the most pressing concerns during a Florida divorce. People often worry about what could become of their finances and what debts they will have to take responsibility for after a divorce.
People in certain circumstances have more reason for concern than others. Small business owners are among those who may face the most pressing challenges when preparing for Florida divorce proceedings. The company that someone owns and helps operate could have a major impact on other aspects of the divorce process.
What business-related issues do those who run their own companies have to address when preparing for a Florida divorce?
Whether their spouse can continue working there
It is quite common for both spouses to perform certain work at a family business. After all, it is much more cost effective to have a spouse doing multiple part-time jobs for the company than to hire several other people for those roles. The spouse who owns or manages the business may need to propose a way from their spouse to obtain employment elsewhere or negotiate clear arrangements for their continued employment.
If the company’s value is marital property
Under the equitable distribution rules that apply during Florida divorces, spouses have to report all of their assets and debts and then find a reasonable or fair way to share them. A business owner may need to obtain a professional valuation of the company to validate what it is worth. They may then need to clarify how much of that value is marital property and how much is exempt from property division proceedings.
If they have an obligation to provide support
If one spouse runs a successful company, the other may have made their own career development less of a priority for the benefit of the family. Unfortunately, that may mean that the non-business owner spouse is at a significant economic disadvantage because of their lower earning potential. In some cases, a business owner may face an alimony request from their spouse. The longer the marriage lasted and the more uneven the financial circumstances of the spouses, the more likely the courts are to award a lower-earning spouse alimony.
People who are preparing for divorce in Florida do generally have the option of settling matters instead of litigating and waiting to see what a judge determines. Understanding how business ownership can affect a Florida divorce may benefit someone who is seeking to preserve their company, whether negotiations, mediation or litigation end up being the best way forward.