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Can my business be part of equitable distribution in New York?

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2023 | Property Division

Many Long Islanders are professional people or business owners. They have created or built an entity that accords them a living and even an affluent lifestyle. When their marriage falls on hard times and a divorce is on the horizon, they are inevitably fearful as to how it might affect their business.

Since New York State uses an equitable distribution template when dividing property as part of a divorce, it is a legitimate worry as to what will happen. Equitable distribution does not mean that the property is shared equally. It strives to achieve fairness. State law addresses this unique situation and people who are facing this type of case need to be aware of what it might mean to them.

Corporations, businesses or professions could be protected in a divorce

The key with equitable distribution for business owners, those who are part of a corporation or profession is the practicality of distributing it in an equitable way. If it is found to be an undue burden or is impractical to split it as part of the divorce or it would be contrary to the law to do so, then the court can seek other ways to ensure a fair result.

The court will try to find a way to achieve equitable distribution in lieu of splitting a business or other professional entity. The award will be distributive and the outcome will fundamentally be the same as if the business was shared. There could be a cash award to cover it or other property could be exchanged.

For property division, it is imperative to have professional guidance

These circumstances are complicated, emotional and can cause financial concern that might dominate the case. People in this situation might think that their entire personal and professional life is coming undone because of the divorce and they will radically reduce or lose their ability to earn a living.

The law is designed to achieve a reasonable result and addresses this very issue in the context of equitable distribution. People who own shares in a business, corporation or a professional practice or own it outright should be cognizant of the available options. It is also wise for the non-owning spouse who is not intimately involved in the other person’s work to know their rights as property is divided. Consulting with professionals who understand all areas of family law can help.