Valuing A Small Business In Divorce
When one spouse or both spouses own a business, the division of property becomes complicated. In most cases, businesses formed during the marriage are considered marital property and need to be divided equitably just like any other asset. In order to divide a business, the business’s value must first be determined.
If you are getting divorced and own a business, the law firm of DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, can help you with asset division. Call DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, at 602-626-9552 or 800-409-0262 to arrange your initial consultation* with experienced Phoenix business valuation lawyers.
At DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, our experienced family law attorneys have a network of business evaluators that we use to determine the fair value of a family business in a divorce. Additionally, firm founder DeShon Pullen has extensive experience in business law as a former commercial litigator at Arizona’s largest law firm. We use our experience in business law and in family law to form aggressive and creative legal strategies that work for you and your family.
Protecting Yourself, Plan Ahead
If you are contemplating divorce and you own a business, it’s a good time to start organizing your records. All of the company’s financial information will be handed over to the expert for the business valuation. The more organized you are, the less expensive the process is and the better chance that your business is valued fairly and accurately.
Classification Of Property
Matters become more complicated if additions and improvements were made to the house. The most complex issues are where non-marital property is commingled (mixed) with marital property. That is why you should consult an experienced family law attorney for assistance in understanding the law and to ensure your interests are properly protected.
At DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, our family law attorneys understand property distribution laws and the complexities of properly classifying property. Our lawyers are adept at working with financial analysts, accountants and other valuation experts, when necessary to ensure you receive a fair settlement. Our lawyers will advise you of your options and ascertain the best course of action to achieve your goals.
Complex Property Division Attorneys In Arizona
- Ownership of businesses
- Ownership of professional practices
- Complex real estate holdings
- Performance-based income and stock options
Dividing Community Assets And Debts
During the divorce process, sole and separate assets and debts (those acquired before the marriage) and community assets and debts (those acquired during the marriage) must be identified and valued. Inheritances and certain gifts acquired at anytime are considered sole and separate assets. Community assets and debts are divided in accordance with Arizona law. Though this is a simple concept, in practice it can be a highly complicated undertaking.
In certain circumstances, one party’s sole and separate assets can be transformed into community assets. In some cases, a portion of both parties’ sole and separate assets can be commingled and become part of the community estate, such as when the spouses combine their separate savings acquired before marriage to purchase a home or business during the marriage.
DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, has extensive experience identifying, tracing and valuing community assets. When needed, we can call upon various experts who can provide analyses that support our client’s position, such as:
- Business valuation specialists
- Tax accountants
- Forensic accountants to identify and trace assets
- Appraisers for valuing real estate, art, antiques and collectibles
We work diligently to protect your rights and interests during the
community property division process to ensure a fair property settlement for you.
Debt Responsibility — Phoenix Lawyer
- Underwater mortgages
- Repossessed vehicles
- Credit cards
- Debt to the IRS
- Medical bills
Division Of Retirement Assets In Divorce
- Defined contribution plans
- 401(k) assets
- 403(b) assets
- IRA assets
- Roth IRA assets
- 457(b) assets
- 409A non-qualified deferred compensation plans
- Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP)
- Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)
- Defined benefit plans — Private and governmental pension plans
Phoenix Asset Division
At DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, the attorneys are experienced in all aspects of community property division. We are knowledgeable about the many complex aspects of retirement asset division, and we work hard to protect our clients’ interests at every stage of the divorce process. Let us put our experience and knowledge to work for you.
The Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is the legal instrument that provides for the division of retirement assets. Our law firm will retain an expert to determine the proper basis for the division, and our attorneys will carefully review it for accuracy and fairness. Some of the key questions we will examine are:
- What portion of the retirement assets in an account are non-marital property?
- What portion of the retirement assets are community property?
- When should the assets be valued — at the time of separation, at the time the divorce papers are served or some other time? In most cases, the relevant time of value is the date of service of the petition.
Your retirement assets and those of your spouse may represent a significant portion of the total community assets to be divided. DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, will work diligently to protect your interest in your retirement accounts.
Division Of Stocks/Mutual Funds/Investment Accounts
Division Of Stock Options
A key issue in discerning the appropriate outcome regarding stock options acquired during the marriage is the question of whether they are for past or current services or to secure future employment. It is critical that your attorney thoroughly and accurately assess the circumstances in which employer provided those stock options that frequently require a review of employment documents.
Division Of Mutual Funds And Investment Accounts
The key issues of the appropriate division of mutual funds and investment funds are:
- Did the fund exist prior to or was it acquired during the marriage?
- What portion of the return on the fund was accrued based on contributions that were made prior to or during the marriage?
Divorces Involving Professional Practices In Arizona
Valuing A Business Or Professional Practice In Divorce
A professional practice is a business, but the valuation of a professional business is different from a bricks-and-mortar business. That value must be accurately and fairly measured.
To accomplish that, some of the questions that must be asked include the following:
- How close is the professional to retirement?
- Will the future income stream continue at its present level?
- Is there any residual value in the practice’s other assets, such as the facility, equipment, patient or customer list?
- In some professions (such as dentistry), there is an active market for established practices. Is that the case in this situation?
The attorneys at DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, are experienced and knowledgeable and can help you determine the information necessary to properly value a professional practice. When necessary, they retain experts such as a business evaluation specialist with experience in the professional field in question or an accountant, who can assist with the valuation issues.
We Protect Your Rights And Interests
In some divorces involving professional practices, one spouse makes significant sacrifices to put the other spouse through graduate school. We will analyze these contributions and provide vigorous representation to protect your rights and obtain a fair settlement, including spousal maintenance and division of community assets.
Non-Marital Property In Arizona Divorce Cases
Experienced And Diligent Asset Division Attorneys
At DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, the attorneys are highly knowledgeable regarding non-marital and community property issues. Aided by forensic accountants, appraisers and other professionals when necessary, we work diligently to protect our clients’ rights and property.
While some property division cases are straightforward, complexities can arise when non-marital property is co-mingled with community property. For example, purchasing a home or making home improvements using separate property may transform the non-marital property into community property. Our attorneys are skilled at identifying and tracing these possible transformations. We protect our clients’ rights and interests through assertive litigation when necessary. Alternatively, detailed tracing can encourage negotiation and possible settlement without the need for trial.
The property settlement you receive will form the foundation of your financial strength and create stability for your future. DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, will work hard to obtain the best possible settlement for you.
Experienced Phoenix Lawyers Handling Complicated Property Division
DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC represents individuals throughout the Phoenix area who are going through the divorce process. Our firm has the capacity to handle complicated property, asset and debt division matters.
Arizona is a community property state, which means there is a presumption that all marital property, assets and debt should be split equitably between the parties. Homes, bank accounts, 401(k)s, pension plans and other items will all be included in the equitable split. However, it is not always that simple. There are many issues that can create obstacles in dividing the property and debts.
One obstacle involves property classification. Is the property properly classified as separate property or marital property subject to division? This issue can be further complicated when non-marital property is commingled with marital property.
Another potential obstacle involves property valuation. Our attorneys can help you identify any potential valuation issues and assist you in obtaining the property you desire. For example, if a family business is involved, we can obtain an accurate business valuation that takes into account both value and debt.
Please note, we also handle division of property through mediation and collaborative law.
If you were prudent enough to have a prenuptial agreement (or antenuptial or partnership agreement) that outlines the distribution of assets and debts, then you have taken appropriate steps to reduce the likelihood of a lengthy and costly legal battle. In addition, a separation agreement can also address and resolve all potential property division issues.
For additional information about property division or to discuss your particular situation in confidence with one of our family law attorneys, please call us at
602-626-9552 or 800-409-0262. You can also submit an online intake form and one of our attorneys will contact you shortly.