Family Owned Business Division in Ontario, California
How to Divide a Family-Owned Business During a Divorce
California is a community property state when it comes to property division during a divorce. This means that all assets and debts acquired during the marriage are divided equally between the spouses — regardless of how they were acquired — with a few exceptions. Only a minority of states use community property rules for division of marital property; most states use the rules of equitable distribution, which give judges more flexibility in designing property settlement agreements.
At the most basic level, community property rules state that each spouse gets half of all the assets and debts. This guiding principle can create hotly contested and emotional situations when the property in question is a family-owned business.
At Schwartzberg | Luther, APC, we have a special focus on divorces in which property division is a contested issue. Our office has served the Inland Empire and the surrounding areas for more than ten years and has significant experience representing divorce clients for whom business valuation and division is a major issue.
In almost all divorce cases involving a family business, the parties’ best option is to use negotiation or divorce mediation to determine the business’ future. If the dispute reaches a divorce court, a family law judge will make a decision that may not be best for the business, its employees or either spouse.
Questions that must be answered when determining the fate of a family-owned business include:
- Was the business started during the marriage? If so, a family law judge may order the business sold and the profits divided equally. Is the business worth selling, or is it worth more as an operating concern? We will help you with business valuation and performance predictions.
- Did one spouse own the business before the marriage? If so, a divorce judge might not divide the business. Instead, the non-owning spouse may get part ownership interest based on the length of the marriage.
- Does any prior agreement exist regarding the sale or dissolution of the business in the event of divorce? If you are still considering divorce or legal separation, we can advise you regarding a buy-sell agreement to protect your interests in the event you do eventually choose to dissolve your marriage.
We understand that you will have many questions for our attorneys so we are here to give you honest answers. The Law Office of Schwartzberg | Luther, APC, is located in Ontario, CA and offers weekend and evening appointments when necessary, we are here to help. Contact us to schedule a legal consultation at 909-457-4270 or fill out our online contact form and schedule your free consultation today.