The end of a marriage brings significant financial changes, and if you own a small or family-run business in Ohio, you may have concerns about how divorce will affect your future interests. Determining the value and proper distribution of marital assets can be a complicated and stressful process, and you should have an experienced legal ally by your side.

Is your business separate or marital property?

Marital property is any asset or property acquired by one or both spouses over the course of the marriage. All marital property is subject to division upon divorce. Separate property is any asset that was bought with separate funds or acquired by one spouse before marriage.

What happens to your business during divorce largely depends on whether it classifies as marital or separate property. The following questions may help you understand more about your rights and the protection of your interests:

  • Will you have to give up your business? If you started your business before you were married or you invested in the venture with separate funds, it is likely that the business is considered separate property, allowing you to keep this asset and all profits.
  • How will asset division apply to business assets? If the business is considered marital property, asset division can be a complex issue. While the final ruling differs on a case-by-case basis, the final settlement could require sharing operational control, splitting profits and more. Keep in mind that due to the complex nature of sharing a business with an ex-spouse, you may explore the option of retaining full control of the asset in exchange for additional spousal support or other assets.
  • What if the business is not yet profitable? If your spouse has a rightful claim to a portion of your business, proper business valuation is critical in order to determine what a fair amount would be. Depending on the nature of your business and the circumstances of your case, it is possible that a judge will factor projected growth and expected future profitability into a final settlement. Other important factors include fair market value, business liabilities and more.

No matter what side of the asset division discussion you find yourself on, you have the right to seek a fair portion of marital property or protect what you believe is rightfully yours. If business interests are of significant value and importance, you will benefit from the assistance of an attorney with extensive experience in complex property division matters in order to protect the continued profitability and future success of your small business.