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Will your business count as marital property?

While having a successful business is something that most entrepreneurs strive for, it is immensely difficult to reach a profitable stage and to have a business that sustains long-term success. You understand how difficult it was to reach this point with your company, and you do not want anything to jeopardize the business. Unfortunately, you have a pending divorce and wonder what will happen to your business assets.

You likely put your blood, sweat and tears into creating, operating and keeping your business on track. You have likely garnered a considerable amount of wealth over the years and feel a sense of accomplishment. Because you put so much into the business, you may think your spouse has no claim to it, but that may not be the case.

A business as marital property

Because Washington is a community property state, your business could fall into the category of marital property if you started it after your marriage took place. Additionally, any assets obtained or earned by the business after your marriage could constitute marital property. As a result, you may have a lot at stake as your divorce moves forward.

You may think that your business is safe because you started it before getting married. However, it could still count as marital property if your spouse contributed to the business in any way. At first, you may think you did a good enough job of keeping your business separate from your home life and that your spouse should have no claim to it. However, your spouse may have indirectly contributed to the company's success by keeping the household in order while you handled the business-related affairs.

Protecting your business

You may have been young when you started your company and did not feel the need to create a prenuptial agreement to address your business assets. After all, you did not know whether your company would reach the success that it has. While you may wish you had taken that precaution, you are not necessarily out of luck when it comes to property division.

Each case is unique, and you may have certain options for protecting your business assets as much as possible. Because this is a tricky and complex topic, you may want to go over your available options with an attorney experienced in high-asset cases. Having this legal support could better ensure that you move forward with your best interests at the forefront.

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