Orlando Business Ownership Divorce Lawyer

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Fairway Law Group

Orlando, FL Business Ownership Divorce Attorney

All divorces require spouses to separate their shared assets as equitably or fairly as possible, and this can be a complicated and financially stressful process in any situation. It is additionally complicated when spouses co-own a business together. Determining how to keep the business intact while parting ways with equal assets can be very hard, but the process can be made easier with the guidance of an Orlando business ownership divorce lawyer.

It is important to understand your options for dividing or maintaining a business, and there are benefits to negotiating these options with your spouse outside of court. Every marriage and divorce is unique, and so is every business and ownership arrangement. Your situation requires individualized legal guidance that protects your personal rights and financial interests.

Legal Support During a Business Owner Divorce

You’ve put a significant amount of work into creating your business. It can be both professionally and personally devastating when you and your spouse realize that the right option is to get a divorce. Whether you and your spouse are trying to split amicably or are contentious, it is important that assets are split fairly and your business is handled correctly. In this delicate situation, you need the right attorney.

When you are divorcing with a business, you need a lawyer with experience in family law and business law. There are many types and sizes of businesses, and each has its own legal and financial complexities. You want to work with an attorney who understands how these two distinct types of law interact. A seasoned lawyer can provide you with essential information about your divorce and your business so that you can make these important decisions.

The Orlando attorneys at Fairway Law Group have over 20 years of combined legal experience, including in divorce and family law cases, and years of work in various aspects of business law. We can help you and your spouse navigate dividing a business, buying out one spouse, continuing your co-ownership, or other methods of ensuring that each spouse gets their fair share of the business you have both worked on.

Our team works hard to provide inventive and efficient solutions during your divorce case, helping you resolve your case beneficially as soon as possible.

Understanding Orlando Property Division

Florida is an equitable distribution state. These laws only apply if a couple allows the court to distribute their assets. The court enters property division by assuming that each spouse has an equal claim to marital assets. Then, the court will review several important factors about a couple’s marriage and their financial status. Based on these factors, the court will determine what is a fair and equitable split of assets. These factors include:

  1. Each spouse’s financial contributions to the marriage
  2. Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage through homemaking or the care and education of children
  3. The duration of the couple’s marriage
  4. Each spouse’s current economic status
  5. Interruption of the career or educational opportunities of either spouse
  6. Either spouse’s contributions to the career or education of the other spouse
  7. The interest in keeping an asset intact and free from the other spouse’s claim, such as a business or professional practice
  8. Each spouse’s contributions to acquiring and enhancing marital and separate assets
  9. The importance of maintaining the marital home for the interests of a child or other party
  10. Either spouse’s actions, since filing for divorce or in the two years prior, to purposefully waste marital assets

This split of assets by the court could end up being equal, but it likely will not be. It only affects marital assets. Although separate assets are an important part of determining equitable distribution, each spouse retains their own separate assets after a divorce.

Couples can also negotiate property division in their separation agreement outside of court. In this case, they do not have to follow equitable distribution laws, and they can divide their property how they want. The court will approve the agreement as long as it is reasonably fair to both parties. This option is frequently preferable for spouses who co-own a business, as they have much more control over what happens to their business.

How Is a Business Divided in a Divorce in Florida?

Marital property is any property that a couple obtains from the date of their marriage to the date they filed for divorce. There are some exceptions, such as inheritance or gifts given to only one spouse. In a divorce, a business may be marital or separate property, depending on when it was founded, the assets that were used to grow it, the contributions of each spouse, and other factors.

When couples co-own a business, it will be considered marital property. Often, these businesses are started during a marriage but even if they were not, each spouse has made significant contributions to the growth and continued function of the business when they are co-owners. This means that it is subject to the division of property, like all other marital assets.

If a couple wishes to keep the business running, it is not in their interest to take their divorce through litigation. The court will try not to interfere with the function of the business, but the decision is still out of your hands. An attorney can advise you on your unique situation, but it is often better for you and your spouse to negotiate the division of property together. That way, you have control over what happens to your business.

Is My Spouse Entitled to Half My Business If We Divorce in Florida?

If a spouse co-owns the business with you, they are entitled to half the business. In that situation, both spouses contributed to the operations of the company and are, therefore, entitled to a stake in it. You and your spouse may also have an equitable stake in the company rather than an equal stake, meaning that one party may be entitled to more than half the business.

When couples do not co-own the business, it is more complicated to determine if it is shared or marital property. Often, your spouse is entitled to a portion of revenue that they would have benefited from, even if the business was founded prior to the marriage. It is important to discuss your unique situation with a legal professional.

Valuing Your Business During a Divorce

To begin the process of fair property distribution, all marital and separate assets have to be valued. This includes the business that you and your spouse co-own. Valuation is very important, and it must be done accurately. It is frequently beneficial to hire a financial professional, like a forensic accountant, property appraiser, or other business professional. Valuing a business requires some of the following information:

  • The revenue from the business
  • The business’s market value
  • The tangible and intangible assets of the business
  • Business debts and other liabilities

Your attorney can help you gather the information needed to value a business, use their connections to financial professionals, and determine the most effective way to appraise your business. Some of the most common ways to value a business include:

  1. Income-Based: This method of evaluation looks at the past net income of the business, its current net income, and its expected future earnings.
  2. Asset-Based: This approach looks at the value of the business’s assets, minus the value of its liabilities.
  3. Market-Based: This method looks at the business as if it were being sold on the free market. This compares the business to similar businesses that are being sold.

In many cases, it’s helpful to value a business based on several of these methods to get a clearer idea of the company’s worth. It is essential to understand the most accurate value of the business before you determine how to divide it.

Options for a Business in a Divorce in Orlando

When you and your spouse have an equal or equitable stake in the business, there are several potential options for ensuring that each party is paid for their current and future earnings in the business. Some of these options include:

  • Selling the business and dividing its profits. For couples who don’t wish to continue running the business, this may be the easiest solution. The revenue from the business sale can be split equally or equitably. However, if one or both spouses wish to continue managing the company, this is not an ideal solution.
  • Continuing to run the business as co-owners. This option may not be ideal for all couples, as it requires significant cooperation and the ability of both parties to remain professional with each other. If you believe that you and your spouse would be able to maintain a professional relationship to operate the business, this may be the right option.
  • Buying out one spouse. If only one spouse has an interest in managing the business, that spouse can buy out the other spouse’s share in the business. This may be done through financial assets or through the equal value of marital assets. In many cases, a business’s value far exceeds the value of marital assets, and this can make a buy-out difficult.
  • Providing one spouse with a salary or share of profits. One spouse can continue running the business, and the other spouse can have a stake in the company, receive a regular paycheck, or be paid a portion of its profits for the rest of their lives.

Each of these potential solutions will rely on your unique situation, your relationship with your spouse, and the wishes of each spouse to continue having direct ownership of the business. An experienced attorney can help you and your spouse navigate your circumstances and find a solution that is ideal for you and your family’s interests.

How Does a Business Owner Divorce Lawyer Help?

Every couple and their divorce has its own legal, personal, and financial challenges, and this only increases in complexity when couples co-own a business. You both have a significant stake in the business, along with a financial and personal interest in keeping it running. This can make proceedings contentious, and having experienced attorneys could help limit this conflict or enable the two of you to reach a reasonable solution.

An attorney can provide you with legal advice that is tailored to your unique circumstances, and they can help determine the ideal method for settling your divorce out of court. In rare cases, settling the case through litigation is the better option. However, for most couples who co-own a business, it is useful to settle its split through mediation or collaboration and not be subject to the decisions of the court. Your attorney can help you make informed decisions about the issues that can impact your entire future.

What Is the Average Cost of a Divorce Lawyer in Florida?

Most family law and divorce attorneys charge on an hourly basis. In Florida, this ranges from $200 to $500 an hour, but this may be much higher for complicated cases, like divorces involving a business. Some attorneys may also require a retainer fee to reserve their services. The complexity of your unique divorce case is one of the factors that influences an attorney’s fees. If your case is contested or is expected to go to court, it will cost more than if it is settled through collaborative divorce or mediation.

The attorney’s experience is another factor in the cost of their services. A more seasoned and successful attorney is likely to have a higher rate. However, an attorney with more experience is also more likely to obtain a more efficient and beneficial outcome to your case. Due to the hourly rate, you may end up paying less overall if the case is resolved more quickly.

Before you start working with an attorney, always discuss the fees and costs of your specific case. Each case may have different costs, and an attorney should be upfront about those costs.

Fairway Law Group: Helping You Maintain Your Business Interests

Divorce is only made more stressful when you and your spouse co-own a business. When you are divorcing as a business owner, it is crucial that your attorney understands business law and your needs as a business owner, in addition to the typical needs of a family law divorce case. You want to find a beneficial solution for your divorce and for your business, and a knowledgeable business and family law attorney could help you secure that.

Fairway Law Group wants to give you the tools and information you need to take control of your divorce and your decisions about your business. Contact our team today for detail-oriented and individualized legal support during your business owner divorce.


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