If you are getting a divorce in Florida and you own a business, then you should take a close look at how the court will categorize that business. During the separation of property phase of the proceedings, the court can take anything it deems as marital property and split it between you and your spouse. If your business falls under the category of marital property, then the chances are good that you will lose it.
Keeping your business from becoming marital property is something that is most appropriately done through a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, according to Forbes. However, if you are already in the process of divorce, then those are invalid options. Ideally, you can determine if your business is marital property before you go to court because that allows you to better plan your strategy to keep it. Here are a couple of ways that your business could become marital property.
Spouse acts as an owner
Involving your spouse in the running of your business gives him or her ownership in that business unless you treat him or her like an employee. This means paying wages and not allowing him or her to make decisions for the business that go beyond his or her job description. You also need to make sure that you are the only owner on the business paperwork and that your spouse does not act as an owner in any respect.
When you mix business and personal funds, finances become messy. Doing this means you cannot prove what funds were going into the running and management of your business. If you use household funds for your business, then that makes it marital property. You should always keep finances separate. Keep records to show the flow of money, and pay yourself wages, which would then become household funds.
Keeping your business in a divorce is much easier if you can keep it in the category of separate property and avoid having the court rule it is marital property. However, this often means planning ahead to ensure you do the right things.