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Can I start and LLC in MD in my maiden name only?

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We file taxes married filing separately. I want the business in my name (he wants nothing to do with it). Is this possible?

Attorney Answers 5


It may be possible but you could use your married name and be a single member LLC. He would not be involved in the company. I suggest that you speak with a local business attorney,. You need to hire an attorney to protect your rights. We just had a nearly identical case in NJ that became very complex. You can use Avvo's "find a lawyer" tool to assist you.

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Use any name you like, so long as the name is not already in use by another entity. The LLC is a separate entity from both you and your husband and everybody else. Only those persons who are issued ownership interest in the LLC have any direct claim to ownership. that could be just you. The LLC will have its own tax ID number. It will file a tax return. Depending on whether you elect to have the income be treated as a pass-through entity (like under partnership rules) or as a subchapter C corporation, determines whether the LLC will pay the income taxes or whether the income will pass through to you and you pay them on your individual return (or continue to pay them married-filing jointly). Meet with your accountant regarding the tax options; once you elect how you want the LLC taxed, you will not be able to switch back without great cost. Most LLC's elect pass-through treatment, for both simplicity and to avoid the extra costs of two income tax returns, accountant fees, etc. If your concern is preventing your husband from claiming a marital share of the LLC if you ever get divorced, then you should discuss this with a divorce lawyer. Starting a business during marriage will make it marital property, or give rise to a claim that its value is marital, even though a court has no ability to transfer a legal interest in it to the non-owner spouse, but a court can "adjust the equities" of the parties by awarding more of the other marital property to the non-owner spouse to equalize the two, or enter a monetary judgment in favor of the non-owner spouse. An ante-nuptial agreement entered into by married couples can address future ownership interests in such assets.

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As a general rule, you should only use your legal name on legal forms and documents. There is no need to use your maiden name if that is not currently your legal name. You can easily demonstrate your sole ownership of the company in other ways and you can enter into a spousal consent agreement that may protect you later in the event you should divorce.

Of course, I would discuss matters of family law with a local family law attorney, but the general rule in equitable distribution states such as MD, absent any other agreement, is that because this business has been created during the course of marriage your spouse acquires a financial interest in your interest of the business (in MD not necessarily half, it depends), but not voting rights, etc. In most cases, this is resolved should the couple divorce in a number of ways, such as a buyout.

Again, you should reach out to a lawyer in private and discuss your particular circumstances.

Best regards,
Natoli-Lapin, LLC

DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed with the law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC on the basis of this posting.

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An LLC is a legal entity separate from the owners (members). It is managed either by the members or outside managers. The IRS doesn't recognize one-member LLC and its operation is included in the owner's personal individual income tax return as a schedule C (self-employment income ). If your husband doesn't want to deal with it at all. You may establish an LLC and elect it to be as a corporation. In some states like California, a professional practice cannot be an LLC. Therefore, if you are a doctor, lawyer or a CPA, etc, you must elect a c corp or an S corporation. Consult a local tax /business lawyer to determine why you want to establish an LLC to begin with. The lawyer may change your mind, as I do with my clients. Good luck.

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Actually that is a very good idea. LLC is often used for assets protection and one of the best ways to asset protect is to keep your name out of the lime light. Using a Maiden name is a great idea.

The above is not meant as legal advice but an illustration.

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