Assets acquired during the marriage, individually or jointly, are presumed to be marital. The significance of the “marital” classification is that the asset will be valued and then distributed (“divided”) according to Florida law.
One might ask, “What if my spouse’s business is in his/her name only, but was started during the marriage?” Here, a business acquired or started by a spouse during the marriage is a marital asset and, therefore, subject to equitable distribution; it does not matter that the business is in the business owner’s name only (“individually”). A Florida District Court of Appeals put it this way: “A business acquired during the marriage is a marital asset and should not be awarded solely to one spouse.”
Thus, the business must be valued. Typically, an expert is retained to perform the valuation of the privately-held corporation(s) at issue.
Once a valuation is obtained, how the business gets distributed (“allocated”) is a question for a follow-up blog post.
If you are going through a divorce and are a business owner or the spouse of a business owner, it is imperative that you speak with a lawyer experienced in spearheading the complexities of business valuation and distribution. Joshua Coffman has that experience. If you would like to speak to him further about your case, contact us here to schedule a consultation or call 407-399-7440.