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Does a spouse get part of a business started before the marriage?

| Mar 9, 2021 | Divorce, High-asset Divorce |

Dividing assets is often one of the most complicated parts of a divorce. Texas divorce laws call for couples to divide community (marital) assets during a divorce. Community assets are accrued after the marriage and generally divided equally if there is no fault in the divorce. This is the case regardless of whether a spouse works at the business or not.

Changes could make it community property

There are certain circumstances where the individual or separate property becomes community property. Unless there is a binding prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place, these may include:

  1. The business owner commingled community or marital funds.
  2. The owner used community funds to pay business expenses.
  3. The owner did not draw a standard salary from the business, which means the marriage supported her or him.
  4. The non-owning spouse conspicuously contributed to the business’s success while married.
  5. The private business became incorporated during the marriage.
  6. The spouse handled all home-related finances, leaving the owner to focus wholly on their business.

Assigning a value

A vital part of dividing a business or other asset is assigning value. Attorneys who have experience working with business owners or their spouses can analyze the estate and determine if the business is part of the community property and then assign a value. If necessary, a business valuation expert can provide additional insight. Disputes over the value of a business are common, even among experts, making the divorce more complex.

Couples need to protect their rightful assets

Those with complex estates often find it useful to work with an experienced, Board-certified Family Law expert attorney. They have extensive experience working on complex divorces that include disputes over business ownership or valuation. Often, they can better help clients retain or equitably divide a business.

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