Solving The Problem Of A Small Business In Divorce And Property Division

A closely held business creates a unique dilemma in divorce. Because that business is considered a marital asset, both spouses have a vested interest in its continued viability, yet they may disagree widely on what the enterprise is worth.

At D'Angelo & Grabow, LLP, we have experience dealing with small businesses in the context of dividing the estate and calculating financial support. Our Waukesha lawyers are equipped for all facets of complex and high-asset divorce.

Protecting The Business

Perhaps one spouse founded the business or medical practice. Perhaps you started a family business together. Under Wisconsin law, both spouses can claim a marital interest in the business, regardless of whose name is on the documents or who was more involved in day-to-day operations. Our lawyers understand the need to shield the business entity from any adverse fallout of divorce. Everyone loses if the business folds or diminishes in value.

Gauging Business Valuation

Spouses commonly disagree on what the company or professional practice is worth. Our attorneys are skilled at getting an accurate valuation for purposes of divorce proceedings. We work with business valuation specialists who can determine the current market value and we identify intangibles that may affect the future value. When necessary, we have resolved competing appraisals through mediation or litigation. Another common consideration is a business that one spouse founded before they married, in which case we need to determine the appreciation in value during the marriage.

Finding Fair And Practical Offsets

When one spouse wants to keep a closely held business or retain their stake in a partnership or professional practice, the other spouse must be compensated accordingly for that equity. Our partners, Christine D’Angelo and ReAnna Grabow, have more than 40 combined years of experience in equitable distribution under Wisconsin law, including divorce where a small business is a major marital asset.

We can help you find the right mix of strategies to account for business valuation in the property settlement. This may include a trade-off of other assets such as the house or retirement savings. It may involve a lump sum or structured buyout of the ownership stake. It might mean moving the needle on alimony. We aim for an agreement that fairly compensates the nonowner spouse without impacting the business as an ongoing enterprise and source of income.

Business Sense For A Business Divorce

Whether you are concerned about protecting the company you built or protecting your marital share, you can turn to D'Angelo & Grabow, LLP to seek a solution that works best for both parties. Call our Waukesha office at 262-383-2700 to arrange a consultation, or reach us by email.