Divorce is never an easy decision, but when you’re a business owner, it can be especially complicated. We know it hasn’t been easy, and you’ve made countless sacrifices to get where you are today. You’ve spent years – maybe even decades – building a business or professional practice from the ground up. And now that it’s profitable, a divorce could threaten everything you’ve worked so hard for.
If you’re a business owner considering divorce, here are the things you need to know before getting a divorce.
Talk to an attorney before you do anything
As anyone who has gone through a divorce will tell you, it is a difficult and stressful time. There are many decisions to be made and it can be hard to know what is the right thing to do.
If you are considering divorce, it is important to get as much information as possible before taking any action.
NC divorce laws are complex and even simple situations can be very confusing.
For business owners the level of complexity is enormous and you’ll want an attorney by your side with experience representing business owners in divorce proceedings.
Do not move out of your marital home
One of the biggest decisions that divorcing couples must make is who will stay in the family home.
If you choose to leave the house without a good reason, you may be ordered to pay alimony or be unable to collect alimony once the divorce is finalized.
Additionally, you may be unable to return to the home until after a court divides the property according to standard NC divorce laws; a process which can take more than a year.
The best advice is to talk with an attorney before making any decisions about leaving the family home. Unless your spouse is violent, it is generally best to stay in the house until after you have a chance to fully understand your legal rights and options.
Talk to your lawyer before you talk to anyone about extra-marital affairs
In the state of North Carolina, adultery is grounds for divorce. If one spouse files for divorce on the grounds of adultery, and the other spouse admits to the affair, the admitting spouse may be required to pay alimony to the spouse who filed for divorce.
In addition to the fact that adultery is illegal in North Carolina, admission of an affair can have other dire consequences in an NC divorce.
If your spouse is a candidate for alimony, any illicit sexual behavior on your part could end up costing you thousands in additional alimony payments.
Although an alimony claimant is not required to prove the other spouse is at fault in order to be entitled to post separation support or alimony, the alimony statute addresses the concept of marital fault and permits a judge to consider evidence of fault in fixing the amount of alimony to be awarded, if any. As a result, honesty may not be the best policy in this case.
Safeguard your assets
Before you and your spouse begin discussing divorce, it is important to take concrete steps to safeguard your assets.
One of these steps is to take possession of certain assets during separation, especially those assets you wish to be using.
This list could include furniture and vehicles, and other assets that could be liquidated by your spouse, including precious gems and stones, collectibles, cash, and bonds.
Another step to take is to freeze your credit. This will prevent your spouse from opening new lines of credit in your name, and making charges that you will be responsible for after the divorce.
Finally, you should close all joint accounts and remove your name from any accounts that you are not the primary account holder on.
Is your business your most valuable asset?
When it comes to divorce, the division of assets can be a complex and sensitive process. But if your business is your most valuable asset, it’s crucial to have an attorney who understands business valuations and can guide you through the process with skill.
At Gantt Family Law, we have experience representing all types of business owners, from small business owners to multi-state corporations.
We understand the unique challenges that come with valuing a business in a divorce, and we will work diligently to ensure that your interests are protected.
Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.