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Business Owners And Professionals

Businesses Must Be Handled With Care During Divorce

If you or your spouse owns a business, valuing and dividing that asset can be complex and sensitive. Most likely, both parties have a financial interest in seeing the business continue to succeed. Wisconsin law considers many businesses to be marital property that must be divided equally. That does not mean you must run the company together in the future, but you do have to account for the value of the business when you divide the property.

At Brazil & Benske, LLC, our attorneys have almost 50 years of combined experience helping clients through complex divorce issues in Milwaukee and throughout southeast Wisconsin. We can help you determine whether the court will consider your family’s business as marital property that the parties must divide, buy out or manage in some other way.

How Is A Business Valued?

You can easily value a publicly traded business by checking the stock market. A private, or closely held business, on the other hand, requires a much more involved valuation process. Business records are sensitive documents and must be protected. Therefore, the parties may enter a confidentiality agreement during the review process.

The court will consider the business’s fair market value, which means the amount the business may sell for to a willing buyer on the open market. Most parties hire an expert in business valuation to determine that price, such as a CPA who specializes in the area. Discounts may apply to the overall value depending on certain factors, including the percentage interest the owning spouse has in the business.

Professionals May Own High-Value Assets

As a professional, even if you do not own your own business, you may still own considerable assets that must be handled carefully during divorce. Courts will start with the presumption of dividing the assets equally, but they do have discretion to consider other factors that may affect a fair distribution, including:

  • A difference in earning capacity or financial resources
  • Length of the marriage
  • Tax issues the asset may trigger
  • Written agreement such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

Our lawyers will always look out for your best interest and advocate for your financial future.

Discuss Your Concerns With Us

We have decades of experience working with business owners and others involved in high-asset divorces. Call 414-939-0468 or email our office to discuss how we can help you in a free initial 30-minute consultation.