How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask N Cal Attorney Your Own Question
N Cal Attorney
N Cal Attorney, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 9083
Experience:  since 1983
9653905
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
N Cal Attorney is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am married to my husband years and I am thinking of

Customer Question

Hi,
I am married to my husband for 10 years and I am thinking of filing for divorce. I recently lost my job and he is currently supporting the family. We still live together for financial reason. A few years ago, we filed a business name specializing in advertising and in a month or so, our first client (a casino) will give us a monthly retainer fee of $26,000 to work for them. Minus the production costs and other expenses, I'm estimating our profit is around $10,000 a month. My husband said he will fight for this business in court saying I don't deserve 50% of the business. I feel that I am entitled to it since the business was established during our marriage. Yes, he does the creative work but I will be handling the accounting and HR sides of the business. I do admit that he put out more work than I did to pitch for the account and that's why he felt he deserves more. I would like to know how is the California court going to decide what is the percentage I get out of this business.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for your question.

From your description, the business is community property and each spouse is entitled to half of its value.

If either of you alone had started the business, it would still be community property, under Family Code § 760:

"760. Except as otherwise provided by statute, all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while domiciled in this state is community property"

See

http://www.divorcesource.com/ds/california/california-divorce-laws-662.shtml

There is an exception for inheritances under Family Code section 770.

"770. (a) Separate property of a married person includes all of the following: (1) All property owned by the person before marriage. (2) All property acquired by the person after marriage by gift, bequest, devise, or descent. (3) The rents, issues, and profits of the property described in this section. (b) A married person may, without the consent of the person's spouse, convey the person's separate property."

You can get a free consultation from some of the dissolution attorneys listed by location here.

I hope this information is helpful.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Pls clarify what u mean by half of it's value. Is it 50 percent of what the business generates for this client? What about potential income generated after our divorce papers are finalized and whether I am still helping him with accounting or not? Am I entitle to those income as well?
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 11 months ago.

http://www.cadivorce.com/news/dividing-a-business/

states:

"There are typically three options to divide a business that is community property:

1- Both parties continue to own the business

2- Sell and divide profits

3- One spouse keeps business and offsets half the value with other assets."

Half of its value means half of the value on the date of trial, see

http://www.kinseylaw.com/clientserv2/famlawservices/property/propertydivision.html

which states:

Fair Market Value: Unless the parties stipulate or agree to accept some other measure of value (e.g., cost or book value), an equal division of the community estate must be predicated on fair market value. [Marriage of Cream (1993) 13 Cal.App.4th 81, 88-89, 16 Cal.Rptr.2d 575, 579] For purposes of effecting an equal property division upon marriage dissolution or legal separation, "fair market value" of a marketable asset is the highest price on the valuation date that would be agreed to by (i) a seller, who is willing to sell but under no obligation "or urgent necessity to do so," and (ii) a buyer, who is ready, willing and able to buy but under "no particular necessity for so doing." [Marriage of Cream, supra, 13 Cal.App.4th at 89, 16 Cal.Rptr.2d at 579]

You can agree to dissolve the marriage but keep operating the business as partners so you both will keep getting income from the business. Without an agreement, the Court will determine the value of the business and award it to one spouse.

Related Family Law Questions