When Business Assets Are Involved In Divorce

Oregon law presumes an equal contribution to wealth during marriage and thus an equal distribution of assets in divorce. This is true even if one spouse earned a higher income or built a successful business. However, there can be legitimate disputes over the value of assets or whether they count as marital property.

The law firm of Elaine D. Smith-Koop, LLC, offers knowledgeable representation for complex and high-asset divorces. I am an experienced divorce lawyer in Salem practicing in Marion County and throughout the Willamette Valley. I can protect your interests in business valuations and other appraisals, as well as inheritance and other separate property.

Marion County Attorney For Inheritance And
Valuations Of Business Holdings And Complex Assets

The concept of separate property can refer to:

  • Assets owned prior to marriage, such as a house, a business or a company pension
  • Property or money designated for an individual, such as a family inheritance or a personal injury settlement
  • Assets specifically named in a valid prenuptial or postmarital agreement

However, separate property is not always cut-and-dried. For example, the portion of retirement assets accumulated during the marriage would be shared equally, even if one spouse did not work or contribute. Similarly, the increased value of a business while the couple was married is presumed to be marital property.

Assets may also lose their separate property status if they become “commingled,” as when community funds are used to improve a home or support a business. For purposes of divorce, both spouses would own the asset no matter whose name is on the title. Similarly, an inheritance must be kept in a separate account and not used to improve property or pay joint debts and expenses.

From 25 plus years of legal experience, I can protect your rights and your financial stake in these tangled issues, through negotiation or litigation of marital property division.

Determining The Value Of Businesses And Assets

Once the issues of separate versus marital property are resolved, there is the question of what each asset is worth. We may need an appraisal of vehicles, jewelry, art, heirlooms, gun collections and other valuables.

The value of a business, professional practice, rental property or other real estate can be substantial, but valuation is somewhat subjective. What is the current market value? What is the anticipated income? What is the projected growth in value? Some couples will agree to hire one business valuation expert and use that figure. In contested divorce, spouses often hire their own competing experts and the valuation is ultimately decided in arbitration or at trial.

I can recommend valuation experts and help you stand up for your equitable share in the divorce settlement. I strive to avoid unnecessary litigation by offering creative and practical solutions to property division, but I will aggressively defend your interests when these complex issues need to be settled in court.

If you need an experienced Salem business valuation attorney, call me today at 503-298-4419 or 800-743-3002, or contact me online to schedule a consultation.