Property division during a typical divorce can be complicated to say the least of it. If your property is also the source of your income, as is the case for many self-employed couples that run a small business together, matters are sure to be even trickier. Success in such a situation will require some understanding of what to expect, helpful servings of preparation, and the keen eye of a legal professional.
Here are a few key points to keep in mind when divorcing as one half of a self-employed couple:
Home, office, or both: Trying to decide who gets to keep the family home is easily one of the biggest hot spots of divorce, capable of turning an uncontested divorce into a heated contest. Before you concede your home to your spouse in exchange for other property, remember that it may also be your office if you are self-employed. Will a new living space be able to support your personal business ventures? Will your spouse even take advantage of the office space the home affords them? If you are more likely to keep down the path of self-employment, you should probably be the one who keeps your home/office.
Account division: If you were self-employed and partnered with your life partner, it is highly likely that there are many bank accounts and credit lines with both of your names on them. You will need to determine how to divide those joint accounts fairly so that you both aren’t stuck in one account after your divorce finalizes. Forgetting to divide joint accounts and establishing new ones only in your name opens the door for your spouse to try to get some subtle revenge, perhaps by drawing money out of the account without your permission or using the shared credit line for purchases and racking up your debt.
Business valuation: The small business you shared with your spouse will be considered as a form of property or a financial asset during your divorce. You will need to have that business fully appraised by a professional to learn its true value; once this is established, it can be weighed fairly in property division. A business valuation should consider physical property, real estate property, and intellectual property your business owns, as well as its profits, its reputation with clients and competitors, and its likelihood to grow or depreciate in the near future.
Self-Employed Doesn’t Mean Going It Alone
Gill Law Group, PC and our Irvine divorce attorneys are here to help you manage your divorce case as a self-employed professional. We understand that the troubles of the entire situation can bring you down, and we would like to be the legal team that helps lift you back up. With outside-the-box strategies and a history of appreciative client testimonials, you can trust in us to uphold your best interests and provide comprehensive assistance in all matters, from dividing your property to valuating your business.