Nearly every divorce is complicated – not to mention fraught with emotion. When a divorcing couple also owns a family business, things can become even more turbulent. In many cases, a closely held business is often a couple’s most valuable marital asset. Its division can be especially complex and often leads to heightened conflict. People pour a lot of themselves into a family business, after all, and walking away from your own business can be particularly difficult.
In Connecticut, the property that you acquire during your marriage is usually considered marital property – regardless of which one of you obtained it. Marital property refers to any property that either of you acquired at any time during your marriage. This includes pension plans, 401(k) accounts, retirement plans, stock options, employment bonuses and commissions, life insurance, bank accounts, real estate, and business interests.
Connecticut is an equitable distribution state. Equitable distribution, in this context, means that the court will consider certain factors when determining how to divide your assets, including the following:
These factors, along with several others, will guide the property distribution in your divorce. Your settlement will not necessarily reflect a 50-50 split, but it should be fair.
If your divorce involves a family business, it can further complicate an already complicated procedure. The first step in the process is to have your business valuated. You can each obtain your own valuation, or you can pursue a joint appraisal together. Because business valuation standards have been issued for this purpose, your separate appraisals (if you go that route) should be similar. Once you’ve obtained your valuations, you can begin the process of equitably dividing your business. It’s worth noting, however, that this can prove to be a particularly painful and difficult task. A family business you’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into often has far greater value than what can be calculated on a financial spreadsheet.
Divorce is difficult enough; a family business can further complicate the issue. Protect what you’ve worked so hard to build. If you are going through a divorce in Stamford, Connecticut, contact the family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Piazza, Simmons & Grant, L.L.C. We’re here to help you navigate toward your best outcome, including the equitable distribution of your family business. Divorce is never easy, and it’s not something you should take on alone; call our office today at 203-348-2465.