Dividing up the property in a divorce can be a challenging process, particularly for couples with a large number of assets. North Dakota is an equitable distribution state, meaning that all marital property, or property acquired during the marriage or with marital funds, will be distributed equitably or ‘fairly.’ However, equitable distribution does not necessarily mean that all of a couple’s assets will be split equally between the two spouses. If a couple cannot decide who will get what, the judge will use his or her discretion to make the final decision.
In some cases, a couple may have gone into business together during the marriage or one spouse may have brought the business into the marriage and used marital funds to expand the business. In any case, dividing up a business in a divorce can be complicated. Once it is established that the business interest is marital property, the court will require a valuation of the business and business assets.
If you decide to add-on to your marital business after the divorce is initiated but before the divorce is finalized, the court may still consider the new business as a marital asset. The court may decide that your spouse is entitled to a part of the income from any extension made to your business, even if the divorce is finalized, since your spouse was involved in the business throughout your marriage and you are continuing to use intellectual property relating to the business.
Because continuing to manage a business after a divorce can be challenging, some experts suggest offering to buy out your ex’s share of the business so that you can continue as sole owner. Before making any decisions, consider reviewing your assets with an experienced divorce attorney in your area.