Like many business owners in the Los Angeles area, you work hard every day to meet customer demands and make money. Whether you have a law firm, restaurant, retail shop or another business venture, you may want to keep your company after your divorce.
Unfortunately, if your marriage lasted for years or you began your business during your marriage, all or part of your company may be marital property. As you probably know, the family law judge will likely expect you to split marital property with your soon-to-be-ex. If you want sole ownership of your business, you must act diligently to assert your legal rights during divorce proceedings. Here are some options.
Remove your spouse from the business
If your spouse works for you, she or he may argue her or his efforts contributed to the success of the business. If a judge agrees, you may have to give up more of your company than you would like. Therefore, try to remove your spouse from the day-to-day operations of your business as soon as possible.
Obtain a realistic valuation
You need to know how much your business is worth. Valuing your company, though, may be more difficult than you think. After all, there are a few different ways to determine the worth of any business venture. For best results, rely on a neutral valuator. Then, ask for a second opinion to be certain you receive a realistic valuation.
Think about compromise
If your business is marital property, you may need to give up other assets to retain ownership of your company. That is, by surrendering other things to your spouse, you may be able to keep your business. For example, you may decide to offer your spouse cars, artwork or even your house in exchange for keeping your company.
Keep the business separate
Keeping independent business records makes sense for a variety of reasons. During a divorce, though, segregation is often imperative. Accordingly, try not to commingle business and personal expenses.
Your business may be a large part of your personal identity. If you lose it during divorce proceedings, you may feel more than just a financial loss. Fortunately, by taking a few simple actions, you can likely increase the chances of retaining your company after your divorce.