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Law Pro
Law Pro, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 1716
Experience:  20 years experience in business law - sole proprietor, partnership, and corporations
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i started a business after getting married all in my name does

Customer Question

i started a business after getting married all in my name does my wife have rights to it if we get divorced
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  J.Hazelbaker replied 3 years ago.
Chat Conversation Started
J.Hazelbaker :

Hello. Thank you for using JustAnswer.

J.Hazelbaker :

What state are you and your business based in?

Customer :

floridaa

J.Hazelbaker :

Florida is not a community property state.

J.Hazelbaker :

Therefore, the assets you each acquired prior to the marriage remain your "separate" property, should the marriage fail.

Customer :

I quit my job three years ago started this business,she was against at first it started making money and now she works in the office but is she intitled to half

J.Hazelbaker :

However, if you acquire assets during your marriage that are not solely those of your business or your business appreciates greatly throughout the marriage, then she may be able to claim a percentage.

Customer :

so shes entitled to half

J.Hazelbaker :

If she is paid a salary, then she is not entitled to half, no.

J.Hazelbaker :

If she can prove that she contributed to the success of the business without pay, then she might be entitled to a percentage.

Customer :

oh ok thanks she is paid a salary

J.Hazelbaker :

The exact percentage depends entirely on the circumstances.

J.Hazelbaker :

Since she is paid, and the business was created before the marriage, you're o.k.

Customer :

no it was after we got married

J.Hazelbaker :

I see.

J.Hazelbaker :

That makes it a little more tricky. What assets did you use to start the business?

Customer :

i got a loan in my name and some savings we had

J.Hazelbaker :

Two more questions:

J.Hazelbaker :

1) what source of money do you use to make the loan payments; and

J.Hazelbaker :

2) what was the source of the money that were your joint savings? That is, did any come from her directly?

Customer :

1 i made it with money i made from my business 2 we sold a house

J.Hazelbaker :

O.K.

J.Hazelbaker :

Then she has a potential claim for a percentage of the business based on the amount of capital the home proceeds represented. That percentage could increase if additional marital assets were contributed to the business between now and the date of separation.

J.Hazelbaker :

It's all about the source of funds and labor.

J.Hazelbaker :

if the source of funds are marital, then a spouse has a proportional claim. If the spouse contributes labor, then the spouse has a claim based on what he/she can prove was the value of that labor.

J.Hazelbaker :

You don't need to worry about labor, since she is paid for it.

Customer :

so I have to buy her out

J.Hazelbaker :

You would have to buy her out, yes.

Customer :

ok thanks for the bad news lol

J.Hazelbaker :

Sorry about that. Hopefully, you have some time to plan her exit.

J.Hazelbaker :

One more thing.

Customer :

ok

J.Hazelbaker :

You could negotiate other marital assets in exchange for this marital asset.

Customer :

yeah i know my paid off home

J.Hazelbaker :

For example, if she is awarded 5% of the business, then you could negotiate that 5% being taken out of other marital assets (e.g. home).

J.Hazelbaker :

Please let me know, if you have any follow-up questions. If my above responses have been helpful, please click Accept so that I get credit for the time/effort. You may always restart the thread and ask follow-up questions at any time by clicking the “Reply” button at the bottom of the question/answer thread. You can access this thread later in your profile under the “My Questions” tab.

Customer :

if I was only so lucky for5%

J.Hazelbaker :

It's not foolproof, but you might want to consider a post-nuptial agreement. You also might want to start making plans for her exit as an employee. You don't want her submarining you, if she still has access to your business assets when the separation becomes inevitable. Though, her doing so would give you an argument to exclude her from ownership.

Expert:  J.Hazelbaker replied 3 years ago.
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