Property division is a common, and complicated, source of contention during divorce negotiations. If you and your husband own a business together, that can add an extra degree of difficulty.
Businesses can be much harder to value than other types of property. Courts often look to experts to determine a fair and accurate figure. New Jersey courts attempt to reach an equitable division of marital property, where parties get their fair share of the assets. But how do courts determine what is fair? That depends in part on the nature of the business.
Jointly owned and worked by both
This may be the most complex type of business to deal with in a divorce, but you have several options. You and your husband may want to keep operating the company together. You may wish to remain joint owners, with one acting as a silent partner. For a clean break, you may decide to sell the business and split the proceeds.
Professional practice with unequal involvement
A professional practice may seem like an easy call: you are the licensed practitioner, so you retain the business. However, it may not be that simple.
Your husband may have helped put you through school. He may have played a role in the firm, performing bookkeeping or marketing tasks. You may need to buy him out of his share, whatever a judge deems that to be.
Owned and worked separately by one
Your spouse may not have taken an active role in the business. Still, if you started, operated or grew the firm during the marriage, courts may consider him part of the business’ success. A judge may say that your husband’s contributions at home allowed you to devote time to the business; therefore, he indirectly helped the company thrive.