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N Cal Attorney
N Cal Attorney, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 9032
Experience:  Since 1983
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Husband refused to pay me my dividends from our business during

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Husband refused to pay me my dividends from our business during the 5 yrs prior to our divorce which was just recently finalized. Could I successfully sue him for keeping my dividends for himself? <br /><br />Other facts: Business was set up as an Scorp over 20 years ago. Stock was issued, 75% to me, 25% to him (this reflects the financial contribution my parents made to our business). His tax returns for the last 5 yrs report his ownership as 100%, then 80% with 2 of our 5 children having 10% each, and then the next 2 yrs as he and I together 'sharing' 60% with the two children at 20% each. None of this was ever legally changed from what was originally set up. We were filing separately the last 10 yrs.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 6 years ago.
Why wasn't this litigated as part of the divorce case?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

My attorney said, 'you need to get this divorce finalized and you don't need to be muddying it up' He then said, 'you also agreed to maintenance pymts and that means you aren't entitled to any more than that'. However, I never received the court ordered maintenance payments. I had to give them up in order to 'settle' in the end. Further background info: My husband ended up with almost all our assets (I left the home which had become a crazy place to live due to my husband's increasing alcohol problem and financial irresponsibility, with just my clothes) after being married for 33 years and after trying the counseling route for about 5 yrs. He was awarded our tool & die business(annual receipts approx 400,000) which was my idea to start, I worked there until he decided to push me out, as well as the paid off business real estate and all the machinery (owned free and clear). He also got our 5 bedroom, 3 bath, 2,900 sq ft home on 5 acres. He had actually tried to reduce the home's value so as not to have to pay me anything for it. (Ripped off the porch, dug up the yard, crazy things like that - and I don't believe my attorney believed me even though I provided proof and a counselor also wrote a letter to the court that he intended to run everything into the ground before giving me a dime - there was no client/counselor confidentiality needed as he was talking to my counselor, not his or ours). I was awarded acreage which was appraised at $123,000 and a cash pymt of $150,000. He kept all our belongings, vehicles, and toys, even the things that had been my parents'. (We owed approx 70,000 on the home, and approx 7,000 on the acreage. - no other debts although husband said he owed 60,000 on a machine which I know for a fact had been paid off. My business responsibilities had included all the money, taxes, payroll, paperwork, and when we were real busy I also ran machinery. He got us into an IRS mess in 2003 after pushing me out of my job and then doing my job wrong. He dumped the mess in my lap when the IRS was getting ready to lock the business up, I fixed it by emptying our savings, and refinancing our home, and putting a second mortgage on our acreage. As soon as this problem was fixed, his promise that if I did that we would get back to normal changed to him wanting a divorce again because I was 'controlling'. He refused to file however, so I did.

Business appraised at approx 285,000, the real estate consisting of 2 bldgs on 4 lots at 96,000 Our machinery appraised at 117,000 (after husband lied about a lot of them being inoperable and 'scrap' or 'wired to Canadian voltages' , 'recently hit by lightning', etc.) Their value was reduced accordingly, and then total value was further reduced by 38% due to current market conditions.

I am now sharing an apartment with a friend, trying to build the new business I started a couple years ago which is difficult to do when I don't have parents to bankroll it this time! At the time I started it I asked the husband for the truck I used to drive. He promptly sold it and kept the money and laughed at me. The 5 years I was out of our home prior to the divorce, I had absolutely no access to any of what should have been my assets. I had to borrow money several times during those years. I don't believe I should have been in the situation I found myself. At the time I accepted the settlement, I was totally out of money to the point that I would no longer have been able to pay my living expenses. I couldn't pay any more legal bills. I was working as a realtor, and our market was terrible, I was making almost nothing. I was also told that if it went to trial, the judge would order everything sold, and I have 3 children who still work in that business. I believe he failed to show up or cooperate for all those years in order to get me to that position where I had no real choice but to settle for less than I deserved.

Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 6 years ago.
I guess it's worth a shot since suing as a shareholder who was illegally denied dividends was not something that necessarily had to be included in the dissolution of marriage case. And you implied that issue was not addressed at all in the dissolution case.

You can get a free consultation from some of the Illinois securities lawyers listed by location at

I hope this information is helpful.
N Cal Attorney and 4 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The only local attorney listed is my ex husband's attorney. Would it be better to use a local attorney who is not listed as specializing in securities law or go outside my area?
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 6 years ago.
I would look for someone from out of town, maybe from the next nearest large town.
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for accepting my answer.

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