Examining your ex-spouse’s claim to your business assets

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in High Net Worth Divorce on Friday, August 17, 2018.

Divorce in Springfield can be a messy affair, particularly if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have considerable assets to divide amongst each other. If your business is included in those assets, then like many of those that we here at the Stange Law Firm have previously worked with, you might be worried about how much interest your ex-spouse may profit from it once your divorce becomes final. Answering this concern first requires an explanation of how Missouri handles property division proceedings.

The state follows the philosophy of equitable division, meaning that the parties to a divorce may not necessarily receive an equal share of marital assets, but rather what the court determines will be fair. Marital assets are assets are considered to be those accrued while you and your ex-spouse were together. Thus your ownership stake in your business might not be affected by your divorce if your started the company before you were married. What may be is whatever increase in value your company experienced during your marriage.

Section 452.330(2) of Missouri’s state statutes lists the increase in value of property acquired prior to your marriage as being among those assets that are exempt from property division. There is, however, one exception to to this exemption, and that is if said are due to marital assets. Some examples of this may be:

  • You using personal funds to help promote your company’s growth
  • You using your marital home as your company’s headquarters
  • Your ex-spouse working with you to help grow the company

In such a case, your ex-spouse could be entitled a portion of the increase in value of your business relative to the extent that marital contributions helped influence its growth. More information on dividing assets during divorce can be found here on our site.

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