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Would a court consider my business marital property?

Children's futures, bank accounts and homes — there are many things that you would probably have to consider when going through a divorce in Virginia. Your interest in a business — yours or your spouse's — might be one of those considerations, under certain conditions. 

In short, a court would not necessarily decide that your business is marital property. There are several common factors that inform this decision in each situation. However, there is usually some gray area. Even if one of the scenarios outlined below seemed to conform to a real-world case with which you were acquainted, you would likely have to examine the details before coming up with a negotiation or litigation strategy.

The first scenario — and one in which a court would not be likely to divide your business — is if you owned it before marriage and its value did not increase over the term of your partnership. If you had kept the business assets separate from any marital property, division would probably be unnecessary.

It is more likely that your business would increase in value over the course of a marriage. In this case, if the increase in value were due to you or to your spouse's efforts, you might face division. However, it is probable that the court would only mandate division of the increased value — not the total worth of the company. The Virginia State Bar goes into more detail on this subject in an informative article on the financial issues of divorce

Your business and your marriage might not conform exactly to either of these situations. Each case is different, so this should not be considered as legal advice. It is meant to inform only. 

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Alexandria, VA 22314

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