Link to part 1 of How to Retain Wealth in Divorce

Business ownership may be the largest single asset in a divorce. Florida law seeks to maintain the business as an operating entity in favor of the party who runs it. When the Court exercises its discretion in equitably distributing assets and debts of the parties, it will set a value of the business as well as all other assets based upon appraisals. The law in Florida currently varies from Court to Court in whether the Court will set off from the value of the business an amount equal to the value of a non-compete agreement of the principal in the business. This can change the value of the business very significantly. You need to discuss this feature of the law with your family law attorney to be sure that you understand the impact this may make on your settlement or the outcome of trial.

Tax effects of business and other assets should be considered in your plan of equitable distribution. For example, if you have a marital home with equity of $100,000.00 and a pension plan whose yearly statement reflects a value of $100,000.00, they look like the same value but they are not. There is no tax due on the sale of the marital home in most circumstances but there is an unpaid tax burden on the pension which must be paid at some point. It could make a difference of 18-35% in value.

Finally, businesses have an advantage in that they can employ legitimate strategies that affect not only their value but the ability of the Court to divide their assets. Consult with your attorney about how to address and respond to these opportunities and challenges.

Divorce can be costly emotionally and financially. In some cases the emotional toll is so significant it can affect the ability of parties and their family law attorneys to reach an amicable resolution. If a party uses the judicial system to hurt the other party, it means that attorneys have to prepare pleadings and motions which then have to be heard by the Court. A single motion may take months before it can be addressed by the Court. During that time emails are exchanged between parties and their attorneys and between attorneys creating a costly dialog. The Court may require that the parties undertake mediation before it will set the hearing, adding another level of expense. Where there is violence or threats there may be no option except to meet these threats head on.

But where this is not the case, how can you minimize the emotional and financial toll in your divorce?

When you undertake your divorce, discuss with your attorney realistic goals and how best to achieve them. Evaluate candidly your spouse’s positive contributions to the marriage and do your best to set aside feelings of animosity. Seek counseling either together or alone so that your decisions are well grounded emotionally. Your attorney is your legal counselor but a therapist is your mental health counselor. Frequently, the cost of a therapist is covered by insurance while the attorney’s services are not. Every dollar spent on litigation is that much less the parties have to divide between them.

Link to part 2 of How to Retain Wealth in Divorce

How much will divorce cost and how long will it take?

Without a doubt, these are the two questions most often asked from individuals curious about instituting a family related lawsuit. It’s completely understandable for these two questions to be at the forefront of one’s mind before undertaking to file for dissolution of marriage.

Unfortunately, the answer is “it depends.” If you’ve ever done a job for someone, you’ll understand. It’s impossible to know how much time and effort will go into a matter before sizing up the case and the client’s budget. However, we will do everything within our power will formulate a successful strategy within your budget.

With that said, a dissolution of marriage (divorce) that has to go to trial, that includes issues involving children, division of assets, and alimony can take as long as or longer than a year to complete. Again, it just depends.

However, we encourage clients to keep in mind the old maxim that you get what you pay for. After all, why hire a cheap lawyer if you won’t get what you want?

With all that said, every action we take is done to effectuate the goals of the client. The client’s goals are paramount to our strategy making and are constantly re-evaluated throughout the representation.

Call Knellinger & Associates today to find out more about how we can approach your problem.

Marriage is a partnership. For some, this partnership pertains only to domestic life and each spouse pursues a separate career. For others, this partnership is a business one, as well. Operating a business with your spouse is no easy task. According to the Americans for Divorce Reform, statistics suggest that 40-50% of marriages end in divorce in the United States.

For couples who work together, sharing business responsibilities can make domestic and business decisions more stressful. Nevertheless, some couples manage to do it very successfully. Couples who are in business together seem to follow many practices that help to keep marriages healthy. They interact well and communicate about business problems effectively, just as couples with strong marriages discuss their personal issues.

Spouses who are business partners often divide the responsibilities. They take the time to evaluate their strengths so each spouse is handling the tasks that best suit him or her. Similarly, in order to have a healthy marriage, spouses must share responsibilities pertaining to child care, housework, finances, and other issues that face married couples.

Sometimes spouses do not agree on a business issue. In this situation, many couples consult others and listen to ideas with an open mind. A willingness to explore other opinions gives both spouses the opportunity to compromise and to come to resolutions that are best for the business. Couples who do not work together may also discuss issues calmly and reach resolutions in a similar manner. At times they may seek outside opinions, too. Other times, they may decide to put aside their disagreement, or one party may decide the issue is not important enough to pursue.

On the other hand, there are couples who try to work together, but are unable to balance the stresses of family life and the workplace with their spouse. In some situations, it is difficult to avoid bringing personal problems to the office or impossible to leave business concerns at the workplace.

Thus, while many couples manage to have a strong relationship managing their business and home life, pressures at the workplace or in the home can lead to divorce for others. When a couple who shares a business gets divorced, the dissolution of the marriage and the allocation of assets can be even more emotional and delicate. In some instances, divorcing couples move on with their personal lives while retaining their business relationship. In others, business buy-outs or other arrangements must occur because it is in the best interests of the business and the individuals.

If you are considering filing for divorce, whether or not you work with your spouse, the Law Office of Knellinger & Associates can help. It is our goal to help you through this difficult family process. We have years of experience with divorce proceedings, custody issues and the distribution of assets and liabilities. We also have extensive experience with the sale and purchase of businesses and their assets. Please contact our Family Law Attorney at the Law Office of Knellinger & Associates to find out how we can assist you.