Monday, October 5, 2015

Allocating Business Assets in a Divorce

Allocating Business Assets in a Divorce

FAQ's Answered by the Pros

My spouse has a business and we are divorcing. Who gets the business?

A. Many high asset cases involve business owners and corporate executives. a business is a marital asset and must be appraised before settlement. Business property in divorce cases can include a wide variety of business assets such as: stock options, retirement accounts, bonuses and other intangible but extemely valuable types of property. We consult forensic accountants, business valuation experts and others in order to obtain the best settlement. Our tenacious efforts to discover a complete list of assets makes a more equitable distribution of the marital assets.

My friends are business owners and senior executives and they told me they lost everything in the divorce -I run a small business -how do I get a fair deal?

A. One of the dangers to business owners is the overvaluation of the business in a divorce. Making sure that asset preservation to keep the business viable is critical. It may have to support you both after the divorce so it is in everyone's interest to keep the business going and not criple the cash flow. Compensation packages are as numerous as stars in the sky, so bonuses, deferred compensation, valuable executive life insurance plans, stock options, pending contracts and business cash flow must all be listed and accounted. Accounts payable and charge-offs are sometimes overlooked and make the business appear much more profitable than it is. Leases, payroll, deferred employee compensation owed and complete operating costs have to be uncovered. An experienced attorney with a persevering attitude will get a team to evaluate all the assets and liabilitiesof the business.

I suspect my spouse is hiding assets before our divorce -where do I look or what do I do?

A. Some divorces are acrimonious and fraught with unnecessary costs to discover hidden assets. We can save time and money by knowing where these assets might be hidden and bringing them to light. A safe deposit box can be opened, but what about off-shore and foreign bank accounts? That is where our team comes in with experienced people to do a complete and thorough search of any and all assets before the settlement is signed.

My spouse is self-employed. How do I trust what the true income is when my partner signs the check?

A. Self-employed people have a lot of ways to hide income or manipulate business cash flows. A forensic accountant that works with our experienced high net worth divorce attorney will go through the business reports and check things like inventory irregularities or contracts pending that have been delayed, etc., in order to evaluate if anything is being hidden or is otherwise unusual. An expert in common business practices for the type of enterprise you own can discover hidden assets. And, if the business is not well-run, we might even discover hidden liabilities. We know how to do a business evaluation that will protect your interests. A fair distribution of marital assets is the best outcome for everyone.

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