Even under the best of circumstances when both parties agree that divorce is the correct path in moving forward, there are difficult decisions to be made. Child custody and child support certainly involve deep emotions and require long-range planning, but property division, asset division and determining how the two households will now earn sufficient income can also create dilemmas for many Virginia couples. These financial concerns are often magnified when a small business has been the source of income for one or both parties during the marriage.
Financial divorce experts report that the family home and a business are likely to be the most valuable marital assets for a divorcing couple. If the two can agree on a settlement, the court will most likely grant the request. If not, as an equitable distribution state, Virginia law requires a fair distribution of marital assets in consideration of monetary and nonmonetary contributions during the marriage. While the home may have increased significantly in equity during the marriage, it may be impossible or impractical for one party to afford the upkeep. On the other hand, the business may have what is considered a return on capital investment, but typically, one spouse has been the primary or sole contributor to that business during the marriage.
Further complicating matters, many small businesses do not keep accurate accounting records and often co-mingle business and personal assets. Even where a fair evaluation can be agreed upon, finding the cash or other equitable asset to buy out one spouse’s share of the business can be problematic.
A contested divorce can linger on for a significant period of time and prove detrimental to all concerned. An experienced family law attorney may offer counsel on the best manner to protect the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved.