I am the only member of an LLC in MAss. My wife will file for divorce in a few months. Would adding another member to the LLC protect the business from my wife getting future earnings? My wife never drew a check from the LLC. I do not want DOR to use my business income to calculate child support. I do have an adult son from a prior marriage I could add as a member. I could use some legal advice to shelter the business from my soon to be ex-wife.
Elder Law Attorney
You MUST -- repeat MUST -- hire an experienced attorney who has handled divorce matters involving small business owners. There is no possible way to ethically answer your question without carefully looking at your business books, tax filings, etc., in addition to running the numbers through the court-mandated child support guidelines. In all likelihood, an accountant will also need to become involved. Get recommendations and speak with several attorneys to determine who will be the best fit for your needs and temperament.
Your business is an asset that is technically subject to division as part of the property settlement. As part of your case, the business should be valued. Sometimes an expert is used for this, or sometimes parties even agree on a value. As a single member LLC, there is a chance your business does not have much of a value, and although it may provide you with an income stream, it may not be worth much to a potential buyer. Of course, I don't know all of the details.
Income is income, so it will be used to calculate child support. I would be very cautious in making any changes to the business, as your wife's lawyer will just look at your records going back a number of years and any moves you make now could possibly be seen as pre-divorce planning and have little effect on the final outcome of the case. It could also hurt your credibility with the court, if things get to that point.
You should meet with a divorce lawyer to get some specific legal advice, as there are many issues that you will need to discuss.
Good luck with your case.