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Divorce concerns for small business owners

Arizona business owners may have unique concerns when they begin to suffer marital difficulties. Of course, the financial consequences of a divorce can persist long after the emotional and practical issues have been resolved. For the owners of small, closely held companies, the effects can be felt more severely than usual. In many of these cases, the business itself may be the largest marital asset and a major source of the couple's income. Therefore, they may worry that the future of the business is at stake, especially when the couple cannot continue to work as partners after the divorce.

Business owners can take steps to find a solution that can protect their companies while reflecting a fair settlement in the divorce. As Arizona is a community property state, there is a strong presumption that all of the assets gained during the marriage belong equally to both partners. This is true even if one partner focused much more closely on the business than the other. When a business was launched before a marriage, it may not be considered entirely marital property, but its increase in value will almost always be handled as part of the marital estate.

This does not necessarily mean that divorcing spouses will be locked together as unwilling business partners or forced to sell the company. People may reach an agreement where one spouse keeps the business and the other receives a greater share of other marital assets like real estate, retirement funds or investment accounts.

There are a number of solutions that divorcing spouses can develop in order to protect their businesses and separate their finances. A family law attorney may work with a divorcing entrepreneur to advocate for a fair agreement on a range of divorce legal matters, including spousal support and property division.

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