PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas March 2023

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PAPERCITY ADVERTORIAL beware of shadow figures in your divorce D ivorce is never e a s y. W h e n partners in a marriage own a business, divorce can get even more c o m p l i c a t e d . New obstacles arise, and extra steps take place that require expertise and experience in the business realm. Not many divorce lawyers have the experience or background that allow them to navigate disputes regarding businesses — and even fewer have actually practiced in business or commercial litigation. Aligning yourself with a lawyer who has experience with commercial litigation will abundantly benefit both parties involved in a divorce. Here, Carla M. Calabrese and Lee Budner of Calabrese Budner highlight key issues when dealing with a divorce where one or both spouses own a business. Business owners in divorce, beware. Whether you're the business owner or the spouse of a business owner, divorce presents unique challenges and considerations. Some may think it's a simple division of bank accounts and personal belongings, but the process is much more involved when your assets include a business. Calabrese says it's important to work with an attorney who understands how to preserve the function and value of the company, both during the divorce process and in the aftermath. "When a marital estate includes a business, we work to find creative solutions to a property division — while always keeping in mind that preserving the value of the business works to benefit both parties," she says. Your attorney needs to understand business. One of the first steps in a business owner's divorce is determining whether the business at issue is community property (property of the marital estate) or separate property (property owned solely by one spouse). This depends on a number of considerations and questions. When was the business founded or inherited? What capital was used to found or operate the business? Did the value of the business increase during the marriage? Next is the critical step of WITHOUT BREAKING THE BUSINESS: BREAKING FROM YOUR SPOUSE SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS WHEN BUSINESSES ARE AT STAKE IN DIVORCE 110

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