Q. Is my wife entitled to half my business if we divorce?
A. If you own a business, divorce can be more difficult financially than for those who are employed by others.
You may be asking yourself, “What are my rights in California divorce proceedings?” To get answers, you will want to talk to a San Diego divorce lawyer. That way, you can get clarity about where you stand and how your business’s assets and liabilities will be handled by the courts. Reaching a settlement out of court is the best choice, but it is not always realistic.
If you must have a judge determine who receives what—both assets and debts—you want that judge to have all the facts about your case. Then, he or she can more easily determine whether you should receive all of your business, or whether your spouse is entitled to a portion of it, up to and including half of it. There are, however, some ways in which you can get a better idea of whether you may have to give some of your business to our spouse before your appointment with a California family law firm.
The Judge Will Make the Final Decision
Even though the judge will be making the final decision, you want to know what to expect. Making things as amicable as possible is also important, but that can be difficult if you don’t have the facts to present to your spouse when attempting to reach an agreement. To determine what may happen to your California business in divorce proceedings, consider the role your spouse plays (and has played) in the business itself.
Does your wife have an active role in the business? If so, there may be more of a chance that you will be required to give a percentage of the business to her when you divorce. If you want to keep your business all to yourself, you may have to buy out her portion. That can also be done, but it would naturally be better for you financially if that wasn’t necessary. How much of a role she played and whether they have been active in the business for a long time can also affect whether you will be required to divide the business with her.
To protect yourself, it is best to have only your name on the business, the registration documents, and any contracts the company has with others. However, it is not going to be realistic to change those things just because a divorce is on the horizon. If you have shared the business closely with your wife for many years, it would not be realistic for you to expect to retain it all when you divorce. If she has never been involved with it, and it has always been solely your business, this could be much less of a worry.
Hire a San Diego Divorce Lawyer to Help Sort Out Details and Settlement
A San Diego divorce lawyer can help you sort out whether you will likely have to share your business with your wife even after you divorce, as well as what you may be able to do to reach a settlement you can both be happy with. The level of animosity between you and your spouse can affect how difficult this settlement is to reach, but even the most amicable of divorces can quickly become a problem if an agreement cannot be reached. Documenting everything and getting it in writing can help you and your spouse reach an agreement that a judge will approve.