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Valuing business interests during a divorce

Under Ohio law, any assets obtained by either spouse during a marriage are considered marital property. Unless a premarital agreement was signed, these assets are divided equitably between the two parties during a divorce.

As part of this process of asset division, both spouses are required to fully disclose their assets and liabilities. As well as marital property, this includes separate property, income, accounts with banks or other financial institutions, investments and other holdings, debts and loans and business interests. In order to divide marital property fairly and equitably, all assets must be accurately valued. This is not always easy, especially when one partner owns and runs a business.

Business valuation is a complex undertaking. Any valuation provided by your spouse should be examined carefully to ensure that it is an accurate representation of the equity of the business. If you have not been involved with the business in an operational capacity, you may have limited knowledge of its assets and liabilities; your spouse may have told you about its yearly profits, but not the extent to which the business is leveraged.

In high-asset divorces, your attorney may recommend that you seek expert advice to ensure that any valuation your spouse or their lawyer provide for their business is an accurate representation. The service of a good business valuation professional may not come cheaply; it will, however, ensure that you receive a fair share of a business's equity during your divorce. If your spouse's business turns out to be heavily in debt, the courts may also decide to apportion a larger proportion of those debts to your spouse.

If you are considering divorce, especially in cases where one or both partners have a high net worth, seek counsel from an experienced and effective divorce attorney before entering into any agreements. A good attorney will protect you from inequitable settlements and make sure that you receive your fair share of the marital assets.

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Harry Lewis Co., LPA | 625 City Park Ave. | Columbus, OH 43206 | Phone: 614-721-7737 | Map & Directions