Your spouse owns a business but now you are getting divorced. Are you entitled to a percentage of that business? In New York, businesses are considered marital property and subject to equitable distribution if established during the marriage and prior to the commencement of a matrimonial action or prior to the execution of a separation agreement. If a business was established before the marriage, the other spouse may also be entitled to a percentage if there have been contributions by that spouse or there was the use of marital funds to increase its value.
How will the value of a business be determined? In most instances if a dollar amount cannot be agreed upon between the parties, then a forensic evaluator must be retained. However, this is expensive and the more intricate the business the more expensive the cost. The size of the business will also be a key factor in this expense. Your percentage of this cost will also be determined upon the financial status of each party. In the end, the amount awarded to you will be determined by your contribution to the business, the length of the marriage and the length that the business has been operating.
There are many methods of valuating a business and it is important to start the valuation process as soon as possible as this process could take some time.