Divorce: What Happens to My Small Business?

You have worked hard to build your small business in Tampa Bay or Greater Sarasota.  Your dreams and future are intertwined with your company.  But, now, you are facing divorce, and you are worried about how this will affect your small business.  You know there are quite a few issues that you will have to deal with.  Child custody, division of property and debts, and child and spousal support all need to be addressed.

Small Business and Collaborative Divorce

Small Business & Collaborative Divorce

But what happens to your small business?

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Prenuptial Agreements for Same-Sex Couples

In the aftermath of the turbulent election season, are you and your partner seeking to add stability to your lives by tying the knot?  Have you been in a long-term relationship and are now seeking to formalize and get legal recognition for it?

You may want to consider getting a prenuptial agreement.  You and your partner may have a certain way of handling your finances.  Do you wish to keep certain funds separate to maintain a degree of independence?  Do you want to keep other funds joint for your mutual enjoyment?  Do you want to clarify which of your assets should be considered non-marital and which should be seen as common property?

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Protecting Your Tampa Bay Business With A Prenuptial Agreement

Under Florida divorce law, businesses are subject to equitable distribution.  This essentially means that it can be considered a marital asset that is divided as part of the resolution of all divorce-related issues.

Small-business owners, who have shed blood, sweat, and tears for their endeavor, find it surprising and frightening that a business might be divided in divorce.  Further, this can be disruptive to the spouse of the small business owner; if the business begins failing due to protracted fighting or litigation, the spouse’s ability to receive alimony or child support is greatly reduced.

Protecting Your Small Business

One way to protect a business from the fallout of divorce is to enter into a prenuptial agreement or, if you are already married, into a postnuptial agreement.

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Collaborative Divorce and Small Businesses

Divorce is one of life’s most difficult tests.  The stress that the traditional adversarial litigation divorce can have on employees cost business owners countless dollars every year.  Further, a private business is seen by Florida law as a potential marital asset, to be divided in divorce just like 401(k)’s, jewelry, or furniture.  When a business is put in the spotlight of a traditional courtroom divorce, Florida’s sunshine laws dictate that the remains of the business can be picked apart in detail by competitors sifting through a public court file.

Small Business & Collaborative Divorce Graphic

Collaborative family law (also known as collaborative divorce), by contrast, is non-adversarial.  The spouses’ attorneys are not seen as “opposing counsel,” but rather as teammates.  The clients themselves are not seen as “opposing parties,” but rather as co-parents or simply people looking to transition to the next stage of their lives.

Collaborative attorneys can only help the spouses reach an out-of-court settlement, so no time, money, or energy is spent on opposition research, dirty litigation tactics, or preparing for a costly trial.  This greatly reduces the stress on spouses and mitigates productivity losses.

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Will a Florida Judge Order a Doggy Custody Schedule?

When two people are getting divorced in Florida, and they have one or more minor children, a custody schedule (now known in Florida as a time-sharing schedule)  must be established.  Approximately 90-95% of all cases settle at some point (whether it is before the filing of a petition for divorce or after spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars preparing for or even going through trial), and so the parties generally end up agreeing to a child time-sharing schedule.  But in those times where they do not agree, a Florida family law judge will take the decision out of the hands of the parents and set a time-sharing schedule.

But divorce doesn’t only affect the children.  It also affects the family pets.  So will a Florida judge order a doggy (or kitty) custody schedule?

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In Florida, Can A Husband Be Awarded Alimony?

When you think of Florida alimony, you might only consider those times when a husband is ordered (or agrees) to make spousal support payments to a wife.  But we no longer live in the 1950’s.  I am running into more divorce situations where the wife earns significantly more than the husband, and the wife is ordered (or agrees) to pay alimony to the husband.

An award of alimony to a husband is made based on the same exact factors that an award of alimony to a wife is made.  The primary consideration is the husband’s need for spousal support, and the wife’s ability to pay.  Once a court has determined that there is a need and ability to pay, the court will determine the length and extent of the alimony award after considering the following factors:

(a) The standard of living established during the marriage.
(b) The duration of the marriage.
(c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.

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Income Withholding Order

For quite some time, Florida has permitted child support and alimony payments to be deducted directly from a person’s paycheck.  This had been done through an income deduction order authorized by section 61.1301 of the Florida Statutes.

Recently, the federal government mandated that OMB Form 0970-0154 (Income Withholding for Support Order) be used in place of state income deduction forms.  Accordingly, Hillsborough County’s Thirteenth Judicial Circuit has published a packet which includes the federal Income Withholding Order along with the Florida Addendum to the federal order and a Payment Information Sheet.

If you have a matter involving Florida alimony or child support and you are looking to schedule a consultation with a Tampa Bay family law attorney, contact The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or by filling out our online form.

Does Florida Have Alimony Guidelines?

When judges and child support hearing officers determine what amount of child support a parent should pay, they have a formula to help guide them to a proper child support amount. These guidelines take into account each party’s income, the amount of time a child spends with each party, and the amount of money each party spends on healthcare and daycare for the child.

So does Florida have any similar guidelines to help a judge determine a proper amount of alimony?

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Tax Issues for Divorcing Spouses to Look Into

Mandi Woodruff at the Business Insider provides the following tips for divorcing spouses:

Procrastinating. If you’re newly divorced and haven’t filed taxes as you read this article, you might want to get a move on it. First of all, there’s no telling how willing your ex will be to fork over his or her tax records, which could throw a major roadblock in your way. And if you’re relying on a CPA or tax preparer to play mediator, chances are high they’ll be too swamped this late in the season to field your last-minute questions.

Setting yourself up for liability by filing jointly. Every couple has to decide whether to file as married (joint) or married (filing separately) after a divorce. There’s a big difference here, which is that filing jointly means you’re on the hook if your ex winds up in tax trouble. “You’re liable for everything on the tax return even if it’s related to your spouse,” Mindel says.

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Calculating Child Support: Net Income

In a previous post, I provided a list of items which would be considered gross income for child support or alimony purposes.  Florida law does allow some deductions to that gross amount prior to calculating a child support obligation.  These deductions include the following: Read more