Pittsburgh Closely-Held & Family Business Lawyer
When a divorce involves a closely-held or family business, unique and complicated issues arise. You may be concerned with ensuring that the business survives the divorce and continues to flourish, or that you retain existing clients and contracts for a continuing business. You may, instead, decide that the best option is to liquidate the business and divide the contacts and assets between you and your spouse. There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach, and each requires careful consideration and valuation before execution.
The Pittsburgh family lawyers at Bunde & Roberts, P.C., have over 100 years of combined experience handling family law matters in Pennsylvania. We understand the complex financial and familial issues that arise when a family shares a business that is now subject to distribution in a divorce. We will advise you of your options and walk you through the valuation and distribution processes. Our property division lawyers will work with you to ensure that your interests and livelihood are protected.
Valuing and Protecting Your Business Interests
To properly apportion the divorcing couple’s interests in a business, the parties must appraise and value the business. A proper business valuation in a divorce entails hiring an independent neutral third party to conduct an analysis to determine the fair market value of the business. In doing so, the business valuator must follow accepted methodologies for valuing a business for divorce purposes. When a business is being valued for divorce, a variety of additional legal issues and questions must be answered..
The business valuation lawyers at Bunde & Roberts work with educated and trained experts to value your business and your share of the business interests in light of the answers to questions such as:
- Did one spouse bring the business into the marriage, or did the couple establish the business together?
- Did one spouse inherit their interest or ownership in the business?
- How was each spouse involved with the business before marriage, during marriage, and since the separation or divorce?
- Are there any pre-existing contracts such as a prenuptial agreement that explicitly or implicitly address shared ownership or distribution upon death or divorce?
- Did one spouse play a more active role in the business?
- Are there any other business partners or professionals who have a shared interest in the business?
- How are the relative interests in the business documented?
At the outset, it is vital to first determine whether the business is marital property at all. If the business is a non-marital asset, the increase in value of the business from the date of marriage to the date of separation or the date of distribution, whichever is less, will still be subject to equitable distribution. Therefore, it is imperative that an experienced property distribution attorney be involved in determining whether the business is marital or non-marital property. A closely-held business is often a source of income and also property for a married couple, meaning it would be subject to division in divorce absent a prior agreement such as a prenuptial agreement.
The business valuation and property distribution attorneys at Bunde & Roberts will help you evaluate the facts surrounding the business to ascertain the best approach to having the business valued for property distribution purposes.
Options for Dividing the Business
If a married couple jointly owns the business, then the parties will have to decide the optimal outcome for the business. Can one party buy out the other’s share in the business? Is it a good time to, instead, sell the business to a third party and divide the proceeds? Are the parties on good enough terms, or at least sufficiently cordial, that they can continue to run the business together after the divorce?
The property division attorneys at Bunde & Roberts can help you evaluate the options for your closely-held or family business. Ideally, the parties can each make explicit their own preferences and priorities for the eventual fate of the business. Our business valuation and property distribution lawyers will help you understand your options and protect your interests, whatever your preference may be.
Experienced Representation and Advice from a Seasoned Pittsburgh Property Division Lawyer
At Bunde & Roberts, P.C., our Pennsylvania divorce lawyers have years of experience helping clients apportion and protect their interests in small businesses during a divorce. If you are considering divorce in Pittsburgh or Western Pennsylvania and your closely-held or family business is at stake, call the knowledgeable and effective Pittsburgh property distribution lawyers at Bunde & Roberts, P.C., today at 412-391-4330 for a consultation.