Is my spouse entitled to a portion of my business in Florida?
In order for the courts to determine just how much of your business your spouse is entitled to, they first need to determine how the business is categorized. When categorizing your business, you would use the same set of rules as you would for any other asset. Separate property is a property that you each owned before you married, or that was passed down through an inheritance. The marital estate would be a property that you acquired during the marriage. And separate property that contributed to the marriage or that was used in support of the marriage can become marital property.
Oftentimes, either the business itself becomes marital property or the value of the business becomes marital property. Either way, because the business was used to support the marriage and/or family, it is now considered a marital asset.
Valuing a business can range in difficulty, depending on how cleanly the records are kept. However, the basic factors that the person assessing the business will consider are the physical property, such as real estate, equipment, and buildings; stock of raw materials and the amount of finished product; customer lists; bank accounts; and accounts receivable. In order to get the most accurate appraisal of your business, consider hiring a professional appraiser.
Once the business has been characterized and valued, it can be distributed properly. More often than not, the spouse who founded and operated the business will retain ownership of the business post-divorce by buying out the other spouse for their evaluated share.
In some instances, when a spouse buys out the other, the valued amount goes towards spousal maintenance. However, it does not go towards the spousal maintenance award determined by the courts but is an additional sum to be paid monthly along with the spousal maintenance.
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