Professional Practices and Business Ownership and Divorce

Dedicated Arizona Lawyer Protects Professional Practices Business Owners’ and Their Spouses’ Interests in Divorce

Wise counsel on the effects of divorce on professional practices and family-run firms and stores

Business owners face special challenges when they divorce. The business itself, or at least their ownership interest in it, may be subject to division, which means that its assets and debts are subject to division between the business owner and his or her spouse. If you are a divorcing business owner, you can rely on Mark Cord, who has handled divorces in the greater Phoenix area for more than 40 years and is one of the few attorneys certified as a family law specialist by the Arizona State Bar.

Knowledgeable attorney understands how divorce can affect a business

Arizona is a community property state and therefore treats marital assets and debts as equally owned by the two spouses and subject to division between them, although the state also recognizes that each spouse might own separate property that he or she may keep. A spouse’s ownership interest in a professional practice or business he or she started during marriage is likely community property, even if only one spouse was actively involved in it. If the business is a sole proprietorship, the entire value of the business may be divided. A business acquired by one spouse before marriage is separate property. However, if community property or effort is transferred into or involved in the business, then the business may become community property in whole or in part and the other spouse may be entitled to a share of its value. A spouse who depends on employment in the business might be entitled to alimony until he or she finds another job. Mark has a keen understanding of the unique problems his clients who own interests in professional practices or businesses face when they divorce and will work diligently to minimize the disruption in all such matters, including distribution of property.

Thorough advocate obtains fair appraisals

Before a business can be divided, it must be valued. If the parties can reach an agreement on the value of the business and its assets, the court will likely accept their determination. If they cannot, the court itself will decide. There are several approaches to determining the value of the business:

  • Income valuation — based on business revenue
  • Asset-based — based on resale value of tangible assets, such as furniture and equipment, and intangible assets, such as good will and trademarks
  • Industry formula — based on valuation formulas common to the industry
  • Comparable — based on what similar businesses sell for

Mark will identify and retain those with the knowledge and experience to appraise your interest in a professional practice or business fairly and accurately and to back it up with their expert testimony. He works with accountants, appraisers, brokers and other professionals in this regard.

Why you need an experienced divorce attorney

If you are a business owner facing divorce, a family law attorney can help you avoid being accused of “cooking the books” or hiding assets, which can be self-defeating and result in your receiving a smaller share of community property. Efforts to diminish the value of the business by such means as selling off portions of it can also backfire for the same reasons.

When the time comes to divide the assets with your spouse, there are several ways to do it:

  • Selling the business and dividing the proceeds
  • Buying out your spouse’s share
  • Co-owing the business with your ex-spouse

As your attorney, Mark will help you negotiate a reasonable division or alternative arrangement.

For a free consultation about business ownership and divorce, contact a reliable Scottsdale attorney

For more than 40 years, attorney Mark Cord has provided effective representation to divorcing business owners in Scottsdale and the Phoenix metropolitan area. Call Mark today at 480-994-0345 or contact his office online to schedule your free initial consultation.