Determining if a business is marital property, valuing the business, and deciding how to divide it in a divorce can be extremely complicated issues for which there is not always a clear-cut solution. Every divorce case is different, and every business is different. As a result, it is essential that your Atlanta divorce lawyer have extensive knowledge about how to deal with and resolve these issues.
First, one must determine whether the business constitutes marital property for division in the divorce. If the business existed well prior to the marriage and the parties were married only a few years, then it may not qualify as marital property at all. On the other hand, if the parties started and built the business throughout their marriage, it is likely to be considered to be marital property for division by the court.
Next, a value must be placed on the business. Typically, the services of an appraiser, accountant, or another type of professional are necessary to placing a monetary figure on the worth of the business. One big issue that often arises when trying to value a business is goodwill, which can be the most valuable component of a business or professional practice. There is a distinction between personal goodwill, which is the value that the spouse operating the business brings to it, in terms of reputation, consistency, dependability, and efficiency, for instance. This is a personal aspect of the business that should not be valued as a marital asset. On the other hand, professional goodwill, or the value that your business would bring if placed on the open market, may be a marital asset. For these reasons, it is essential that your Atlanta divorce lawyer understand the concept of goodwill and how it affects the valuation of your business.
Finally, there must be a determination about how the parties’ marital property should be equitably divided, and how that division will impact the spouse’s business, if at all. If the spouse operating the business wishes to retain the business, it is possible that he or she will have to buy out the other spouse’s share, or otherwise relinquish other assets in order to do so.
Regardless of whether you are the spouse who operates the business or not, it is imperative to retain an attorney who understands the whole spectrum of issues that relate to business as a marital asset under Georgia divorce law.
Contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.
Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm LLC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.