A closely held business may be a major asset, and thus a major source of conflict in divorce. The spouse who runs the business typically wants to keep it but downplay the value, while the other spouse views it as leverage for a favorable settlement.
The experienced lawyers of Alpine Family Law have a sophisticated understanding of business valuation and business asset division in the context of divorce. We represent business owners or their spouses in high net worth divorces in Eastside communities and throughout the Seattle area. We invite you to give us a call today about your specific case.
Business Assets As Marital Property
In contested proceedings, the courts will usually award the business to one spouse and then award something of offsetting value to the other spouse. An out-of-court settlement usually works the same way. The key considerations are the value of the business itself and any sweat equity the spouse may have in that valuation.
A professional evaluator can assess the business and its market value, including the goodwill value of the enterprise. For clients who are taking a cooperative approach, it is cheaper and quicker to hire one professional. For clients who disagree widely on what the business is worth, each side hires its own professional and we litigate. Alpine Family Law relies on a handful of business valuation experts to help us arrive at a fair and accurate figure.
Sometimes couples go into business together, but one spouse worked at a lesser wage or for no pay. That spouse might seek additional consideration for his or her contributions during the marriage in the form of cash or property.
Sometimes the primary owner goes to court and asks that the spouse be removed from the business. If that spouse is suddenly left with no job or means of support, it can become a significant factor in spousal maintenance.
Washington Divorce Law Since 1986
On either side of the equation, we are protective of your best interests and your fair treatment under the law.
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