Florida Divorce: Could Your Spouse Be Entitled to Your Professional Practice?
Beyond disputes regarding children, the division of assets is usually the most hotly contested issue in a divorce case. This is especially true when a divorce involves either high-end assets or particularly complex assets. There are few assets more complex than a professional practice. Many divorcing professionals worry that their spouse could have claim to their practice and that there business might be severely damaged as a result. If you are a divorcing professional, please consult with an experienced Clearwater divorce lawyer who can help to protect your personal and business interests.
Understanding How Marital Assets in Florida are Divided
Under Florida law, marital assets are divided in an equitable manner. To be clear, this does not mean that assets will be divided evenly. In fact, often it means quite the opposite. Assets will divided in a manner that is deemed most ‘fair’ to both parties. In assessing what is ‘fair’, Florida courts are entitled to review the totality of the circumstances of a couple’s marital life. This includes everything from the amount of assets each spouse brought into the marriage to the future anticipated financial needs of the parties.
Is a Professional Practice a Marital Asset?
In some divorce cases, a professional practice will be a marital asset. In others, the practice will be a personal asset. Ultimately, this issue will always depend on the unique circumstances of each individual case. For example, if your medical practice was fully established prior to the beginning your marriage, it is possible that the full value of the practice will because considered a personal asset. On the other hand, if your spouse supported you through medical school, or took care of the kids while you were developed your practice, he or she may have a legal claim to part of the value of the business.
You Need a Comprehensive Valuation of Your Business
Even if your spouse has a claim to your practice, that does not mean that your practice will need to be liquidated. Generally, it is in the best interests of both parties to have the business continue to operate as it had been before the divorce. However, if your practice is a marital asset, your spouse will be entitled to a portion of the value. This needs to be taken into account as part your broader divorce settlement. The first step in this process is getting a comprehensive valuation of your practice. All assets and liabilities need to be properly considered. Only when you know the true value of your practice will you be able to adequately protect your rights in the divorce process.
Do You Need Legal Assistance?
At the Law Office of Gale H. Moore P.A., we have helped many professionals through complex divorce cases. If you are a medical professional or small business owner going through a divorce in Largo, Clearwater or any of the surrounding communities, please do not hesitate to contact our office today at (727) 584-2528 to set up a fully confidential review of your case.