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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 32810
Experience:  16 yrs. of experience including family law.
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Hi, I am the co-owner of an LLC business with my husband.

Resolved Question:

I am the co-owner of an LLC business with my husband. We are set at 50/50 split ownership, and both draw a salary.

If we divorce, his plan is to give me a $50K salary for the rest of my life (I have bipolar disorder and can no longer work). He plans to keep the entire business and I will walk away with this life long salary deal.

Is this legal or do I have more of a stake in the business? That said, I believe if the answer is yes he will simply rename the business and start over. I cannot start another business at this point in my life. I have worked extremely hard on our current business for 8 years, but I wouldn't be able to do it again. I know he can drop our business and start over/succeed with the exact same business in another name.

PLEASE help me! Thank you!! Heather
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 6 years ago.
Thanks for the chance to assist.

Yes, this would be legal (or rather, could be legal). Its certainly possible to work out a marital separation agreement that pays you going forward. But I would recommed you work with an attorney to "get it right"

Let me back up...a divorce can either be contested or not contested.

Uncontested; Now the fastest, (and by far the least expensive) way to get a divorce is if you can agree on the terms. If you can agree on "who gets what" there is not a need for attorneys...this will cut the costs to a very small amount (court fees)

Contested; if you can not agree, this is a contested divorce. To proceed you need an attorney or need to act as your own attorney (very bad idea). Here the parties present evidence to the court on "who gets what" and the court decides. This take longer and involves attorney fees for both sides.

Here, if you can agree with your soon to be ex on "who gets what"...great!

Now, the charachterization is important. In TX, the court allows "maintenance" (alimony). So if your goal is to get a salary, you will want to make sure its properly would not call it would call it maintence. And you would want to make sure the separation agreement spells out the amount and duration.

That is why you should have an attorney assist. If you can agree with him on the amounts, you can avoid the fighting...but you want to have an attorney look over the final agreement to make sure it uses the proper langugage (example: you call it maintenance and not salary).

Your fear of him "dropping this business and starting another" is the very reason you want the agreement to use the term maintenance and NOT salary.

As for if you have "more of a stake"...I can not aswer that question...nor can anyone else answer taht you would need to sit down with a local family law attorney and go over the details of the marriage and the business.

Please let me know if you have further questions; if so I will do my best to answer them. If not please hit the accept button, its the only way I get credit for my work.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
The answer did not address my biggest concern, which was how a married couple split a company that is owned 50/50. I did not need education on the different kinds of divorce. The best info I got was to ask for alimony, which would be obvious if I saw an attorney here in Dallas. I was referred to a local attorney to answer the question I really wanted answered
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 6 years ago.
Sorry for the confusion. Its sometimes difficult to divine the key focus of the questions based on text alone.
If the focus is the business, then you can rest assured that TX law will protect your rights to the business. The court will look at several factors in determining how to divide the business.

You say you “are set at 50/50 split ownership, and both draw a salary”. You do not say if you formed this business together or if one of you brought the business to the relationship. If you started the business together, the odds are very good that the the court would “split it” 50/50. But if one of you brought the business to the relationship, that adds a level of complexity...since the court would need to determine the value at the start of the marriage and the current value. It could be that if, for example, your husband brought the business to the marriage, the court wold give him a higher percentage of the business.

If you formed this business together, it would be tough for either of you to get more than 50%.

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