Mississippi Family Law Attorney Talks about Splitting Business Assets in a Mississippi Divorce

Did you know that spouses do not have to be in business together for each of them to have an interest in a business that one of them owns for the purpose of property division in a divorce case?  Spouses who have not been involved in the operation of a business may be deemed to have contributed to its value in other ways, such as supporting and encouraging the spouse in their business endeavors and caring for the couple’s home and children throughout the course of the marriage.

One high profile divorce case has recently increased public awareness of this issue. Harold Hamm’s divorce case involves a business that is worth billions, and he and his ex-wife disagree on whether the way that the business assets were divided by the divorce court was fair. The ex-wife is appealing the divorce judgment, claiming that she was awarded but a fraction (over ninety million dollars) of the value of the marital estate that the couple created over the course of their twenty-plus year marriage.

In the Hamm case, the husband owned a business before he married his wife. During the marriage, the value of the business increased tremendously. When the couple decided to divorce, the question then became whether the business’s increase in value occurred because of normal market forces or because of Mr. Hamm’s efforts in running the business. If the increase in value could be traced to market forces, the increase would not be considered a marital asset and it would be given to the husband, because he had brought it into the marriage, instead of divided between the parties in a property settlement. If, instead, the rise in value had occurred in large part due to Mr. Hamm’s management of the business, then the increase in the value of the business would be considered a marital asset and would be divided as part of the property distribution.

In Mississippi, if a spouse owns a business interest, that value of that interest will need to be ascertained, and then it will need to be classified as marital property, separate property, or a mixed asset. Since valuation of business interests is not a simple matter, one or both parties may hire business valuation experts to provide professional valuations of the business interest. Whichever portion of a spouse’s business interest is deemed marital property goes into the marital estate, which gets divided equitably among the spouses.

If your Mississippi divorce involves an interest in a business, a skilled Mississippi Family Law Attorney can help you to understand how that business interest fits into the bigger picture of your property distribution. Mississippi Family Law Attorney Matthew S. Poole can help you pursue a property distribution that is aligned with your priorities through the negotiation process, and, if a satisfactory agreement cannot be reached, serve as a strong advocate for you in the courtroom. Please call (601) 573-7429 today, to schedule a free, initial consultation.

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Mississippi Family Law Attorney Talks about Splitting Business Assets in a Mississippi Divorce
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Mississippi Family Law Attorney discusses dividing business assets in divorce.

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