How is a business ownership interest or professional practice handled in a Columbus or Central Ohio divorce? Many operating agreements attempt to establish an unreasonably low values for the business ownership interest. For example, a physician’s practice may establish the ownership value of each doctor’s interest in the practice at $35,000. In many cases, these clauses are shown to spouses in an attempt to intimidate them or convince them that the professional practice or business ownership interest has no substantial value.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Ohio protects the “marital interest” in all business interests associated with divorcing spouses such as ownership of an LLC or corporation, or a professional practice. The key is to establish a fair and independent valuation of the spouse’s fair market value of his/her business interest.
There are several strategies to establish a credible valuation, and the best options vary depending upon the nature of the business or practice. Experts can review the value of a company or corporate interest if that ownership was offered for sale in the local marketplace and even if it has not been offered for sale.
The experienced Columbus divorce attorneys at The Law Offices of William L. Geary have extensive experience in cases which involve business ownership or a professional practices. We work with respected business valuation experts to protect our clients’ interests, and to establish fair and accurate valuations. Once a valuation has been established, the asset can be handled as any other marital asset of the couple.
In some cases it may be necessary to “offset” the non-ownership interest of the other spouse in order to preserve an operational business model. This type of situation may involve complex negotiations and deal with many aspects of valuation, appreciation and the impact of taxation in order to reach a fair settlement.
Our experienced and seasoned divorce attorneys work to protect the viability of the associated business or professional practice while working to establish a valuation that accurately reflects and protects our client’s interests.