Divorcing your spouse is never easy; it can be an emotionally taxing experience, especially when you own a business. It can be difficult to see eye-to-eye when determining who will get what in the divorce settlement.
With significant assets like a business, it can be complicated splitting them in a divorce. In this blog, our Atlanta divorce lawyer explains how Georgia's property division works and how to determine whether your spouse is entitled to half of your business. Here's what you need to know.
Understanding Georgia's Property Division Laws
Georgia operates as an equitable distribution state, which means your marital assets, including business properties, are split equitably between couples. Everything must be valued then the court will divide everything as equally as they find appropriate. If the business is considered marital property, then it is likely that your spouse will get half of it in the divorce.
Therefore, it's essential to determine whether the business is marital property or separate property. Marital property is anything that was acquired or earned while the couple was married. Property received before marriage is considered separate property, which means it cannot be divided in a divorce. However, there are instances where separate property could be commingled with marital property, thus making it partially marital property.
If the business began during the marriage, your spouse could get up to half of its value in the divorce. On the other hand, if it was started before the marriage, your spouse could get a portion of it depending on the following factors:
- Your business increased in value during your marriage.
- Your spouse contributed to the business during your marriage, including time and money.
How Georgia Courts Divide a Business
In the event the business is found to be partial or complete marital property, it will then need to go through a process known as business valuation. This is typically done through an expert witness like a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
After the business valuation has been assessed and presented in court, the court will then look at several factors to determine how to divide it.
Factors the court will examine may include:
- Future business earnings
- Liquidation value
- Potential losses
- Any other information that could impact the division of the business
In most cases, the business will be awarded to the spouse currently running it or who owns shares in the business. However, it is common for the business to have benefited from both spouses' efforts during their marriage, meaning the business's value will need to be offset by other assets.
Considering Divorce? Contact an Atlanta Divorce Lawyer Today
When you begin the process of filing for divorce, it can feel overwhelming and stressful, especially when a business is involved. Financial matters can have severe implications on your life, making it imperative to have a skilled Atlanta divorce attorney on your side supporting you.
At Harmon Caldwell, our team will thoroughly examine your business assets and valuation to determine the best way to approach your case. We will ensure your rights and assets are protected so you can rest easy knowing your financial future is in safe hands.
Contact Harmon Caldwell today at (404) 882-7263 to schedule a consultation with our Atlanta family law team.