Married 30 years, now divorcing. I have full time job, and helped her build business over the years. Her lawyer says I am not entitled to half as she is sole officer. Previously it was a sole propriteorship. I spent thousands of hours wokring in direct support of the business.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
You are not “entitled” to anything. In Maryland, a Judge can not award you any share of the business. However, as my Maryland colleague explained, you may ask to receive a marital award as payment for the marital share of the value of the LLC. If your wife refuses or if you believe that the value she has placed on the LLC is too low, you will need to present evidence of the value (typically through a forensic accountant) and ask for a marital award based in part on the value of the LLC. There are many factors that a Judge (most likely Shockley if Worcester County is the venue) would consider in determining a marital award, and you may also have a claim for alimony, based upon the information that you have provided. I would be happy to discuss these issues further and suggest some names of local lawyers who you should consider retaining to assist you in this matter.
Please be advised that this response does not constitute "legal advice," nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek counsel of an attorney before taking any actions or deciding not to take any actions.
I am sorry that you are going through this. The quick answer is that you are entitled to more than zero, the facts in between are what are important. I would suggest that given your statements you are entitled to quite a bit. Please find a local attny that you feel comfortable with and work with him or her and you will be protected. I hope that things get better, take care.
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Real Estate Attorney
You are an owner of the business as is your wife. The fact that she is sole officer is irrelevant. An officer does not have to be an owner and an owner does not have to be an officer. Find a good family law attorney in your area and do not listen to her lawyer.
The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.
I agree with Mr. Lewis. Yes, of course you are entitled to something, maybe not half. Based upon the facts you've described, you would be entitled to some portion of the value of the business insofar as your wife's interest in it represents a "marital asset" even if you did nothing. The fact that you helped build the business over the years gives you an entitlement to more. Business valuations for purposes of distribution of marital property are NOT simple undertakings and you would do well to consult with a local attorney as soon as possible to help ensure that you get your fair share. Good luck!
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Maryland is an equitable distribution state. This mean the Court can award you a monetary award based on the value of the business. You will need to hire a business valuation expert to determine value. Your attorney will know what to do and who to hire. Speak to an attorney for specific advice.
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