Business Owners and Considerations for Divorce

Many client ask us if a divorce is different when there is a business involved. The answer is that every divorce and/or custody matter is different. Within each profession there are unique attributes and common themes that need to be addressed in particular ways. We have represented countless clients with business interests. We also have represented countless spouses in divorces where the opposing party is the business owner. Even if a spouse is not the legal owner of the business, they may still be entitled to an equitable share of the other spouse’s interest in the business. In Pennsylvania, when there is a business involved, there will need to be a determination of what, if any, portion of the business is considered “marital property,” and thus subject to equitable distribution.

For the business-owner spouse, time is often at a premium. With the demands of marriage and family, time can be extremely scarce. When a divorce and/or custody action arise(s), the spouse may now find him or herself trying to allocate time between the business, the family, the divorce, custody concerns, and the countless other things that are burdening him or her and causing anxiety. Under the best of circumstances, these business owners may find themselves working around the clock, putting in long hours and having a difficult time finding ways to balance their obligations to their clients with their need to participate in the divorce and/or custody process. Our team-based approach allows us to tailor representation to the specific client and the business. From the business end, we work hand-in-hand with the owner’s staff, accountants, and other professionals to ensure that they are fully compliant and prepared for the divorce process. Valuing the marital portion of a business can be extremely complicated, especially when there are land, buildings, and multiple entities owned by the spouse. When there are partners, this brings about many other levels of potential problems, such as the request or release of confidential information. In those cases, protective orders may need to be drafted and put into place before the release of information.

We are also involved in cases where the opposing spouse is the business owner. In these cases, like those described above, we are equipped with our team of legal professionals and outside experts delve into all aspects of the other spouse’s business to determine what, if any, portion of the business is “marital property,” and hence part of what our client will be entitled to in the divorce. We also examine the business records to determine what may be owed to the dependent spouse in terms of alimony, spousal support, child support and/or alimony.

Regardless of the situation, we put together members of our legal team, as well as bringing on board any other professionals and/or experts necessary, to proactively fight for our clients’ rights, protect their confidential information, and to ensure they are in the best possible situation going through all aspects of the case. If you are a business owner, or married to a business owner, and you are thinking of filing for divorce, click or call 610-892-3877 to speak to one of our experienced family law attorneys.

About the author

About Melissa Towsey

Melissa graduated from the University of Virginia in 2002 with a double major in Sociology and Foreign Affairs. After working for several years as a paralegal in Washington, D.C., she attended The University of Villanova School of Law and graduated in 2010. During law school, Melissa was involved in several public interest organizations and published an article in Villanova’s Environmental Law Journal, “Something Stinks: The Need for Environmental Regulation of Puppy Mills” 21 Vill. Envtl. L.J. 159 (2010) After law school, Melissa clerked for the Honorable Thomas G. Parisi, Administrative Judge of the Criminal Division in the Court of Common Pleas, Berks County. Melissa is the supervising attorney of the firm’s Appellate Unit. The Appellate Unit handles all aspects of the appellate process for family law cases as well as advanced research within the firm. Melissa and her husband, Paul, reside in Montgomery County with their two cats Wembley and Gobo. In her spare time, she enjoys audiobooks, barbeques, and watching action movies.