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Division of The Family Business in A Kansas Divorce

Weber Law Dec. 31, 2015

There are many complex property division issues that can complicate a marital dissolution in Kansas.  Property division issues that pose a particularly difficult challenge involve the valuation and allocation of interests in a family business.  The process of dividing a closely held business can lead to disruptions and conflict that interfere with the company’s efficient operations.  If care is not taken in handling the process of dividing a family business, a divorce can cause serious damage that decreases revenue and potentially causes long-term damage to the value of the company.  When marital partners own a business, a marital dissolution can involve the following complications:

  • Designating how the business will be managed and operated during the pending dissolution

  • Safeguarding the reputation and goodwill of the company

  • Identifying diverted or hidden income streams, assets, or revenue from the business

  • Obtaining a proper valuation of the business

  • Developing a plan for the post-divorce management or control of the business

  • Resolving ownership interests of both spouses following the dissolution

When a divorce involves the division of interests in a family business, the parties can benefit from legal representation by an attorney with more than thorough knowledge of Kansas family law.  Because J. Joseph Weber has handled many divorces involving closely held businesses, he has valuable experience with valuation and accounting principles along with complex business transactions.  Our law firm’s has represented parties involved in divorces in different types of business forms in a broad spectrum of industries.  This background means that we recognize the importance of protecting our clients’ interests while avoiding business disruptions that can result in financial losses in the short-term and permanently compromise the value of the business.

Our approach depends on whether we are representing a spouse who is primarily responsible for management of the company or a spouse who has limited involvement in the business.  When we represent a party who has exercised primary responsibility for management of day-to-day operations of the company, we will strive to obtain a resolution that facilitates the continued efficient and seamless functioning of the business.  If our client has had only limited involvement with the business, we use the discovery process to ensure our client receives an appropriate share of the value of the company.  We routinely seek discovery of a wide range of financial documents to expose attempts by a spouse to understate the value of the business or to hide assets or income such as tax returns, P&L statements, accounts receivable & payable records, receipts, invoices, credit card statements, loan documents, and other financial documents that can be used to ensure full disclosure of the company’s assets and income.  We also carefully scrutinize written off expenses and shareholder disbursements which permit taxation at a lower rate.

Mr. Weber also works with clients to evaluate the appropriateness of retaining a forensic accountant to achieve a fair and equitable division of interests in a family business based on an accurate business valuation.  Despite the importance of access to these types of experts and careful analysis and discovery of financial documents, many marital partners attempt to handle this type of complex divorce by relying on opinion, biased speculation, and emotion.  If you have questions about dividing a business during a divorce, we welcome the opportunity to talk to you and answer your questions.  We invite you to call the Kansas Divorce Lawyer at the Weber Law Office or to submit an inquiry form through this website to schedule your initial consultation.