A Detail-Oriented Approach To Asset And Property Division
One of the primary issues that must be settled during a divorce is property division. Splitting up the property is an emotional and often contentious process. Many items and assets hold special value and are difficult to measure with a fair market valuation. When there are highly complex financial assets involved, achieving “fair and equitable” distribution of property becomes even more challenging.
The award-winning attorneys at Rogers Sevastianos & Bante LLP understand the challenges that divorcing couples often face when it comes to property division. Attorney Joe Bante heads up our family law team with years of in-depth knowledge about the complexities of property division and what it takes to secure positive outcomes for our clients. He also has extensive experience with several related areas of the law, such as real estate, corporate law and estate planning. This gives him the ability to fully examine the big picture and effectively address all important issues pertaining to the marital estate.
Our family law team works directly with clients to provide the personalized and attentive service they deserve. We are honest, straightforward and approachable, and we view the attorney-client relationship as a partnership to move through domestic litigation effectively, both in terms of results and cost-effectiveness. We take the time to educate clients and keep them informed of their rights and options as they move through the process.
We Have Experience With A Wide Variety Of Marital Assets
During a divorce, there may be several significant assets at stake. We have helped clients divide assets of all kinds. Some of the most common include:
- The marital residence
- Bank accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Other real estate
- Unique assets (e.g., classic cars, art collections, etc.)
- Marital debt
Marital And Nonmarital Property Division
Married couples possess two types of property: marital and nonmarital. Generally, nonmarital property is anything that was already owned prior to the marriage, and marital property is anything acquired during the marriage. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, property that is inherited by one spouse during the marriage is usually considered nonmarital property.
In many situations, a problem occurs when marital and nonmarital assets become comingled. This is particularly common with high-asset divorces. In such cases, it may be necessary to thoroughly investigate the source of funds to determine which assets should be included in the divorce.
After determining which types of property are considered marital assets, the court seeks to divide the property fairly and equitably. Most family courts start with a 50/50 division, then examine specific circumstances to decide if any deviation from this calculation is warranted. Some common factors the court may consider include:
- The duration of the marriage
- The health and age of the spouses
- The established standard of living
- Each spouse’s earning capability
- Alimony/spousal support agreements
- Child support agreements
- Intangible sacrifices (e.g., one spouse putting their career on hold to become a homemaker)
- Divorce tax consequences
- Prenuptial agreements
How Are Business Assets Divided In A St. Louis Divorce?
Missouri and Illinois are both equitable division states. This means that all assets acquired during a marriage are divided fairly. This does not necessarily mean they are divided equally, however.
When dividing business assets, judges will generally consider factors such as the length of the marriage, the date the business was started or acquired (or when spouses began investing in the business), the amount of money and source of that money as well as the amount of time and involvement each spouse put into the business.
Few issues in divorce are as complicated as business asset division. If you or your spouse had any business ownership during your marriage, you should seek experienced legal counsel before you continue with your divorce.
Can I Sell My Business Before Divorce?
When you have sole ownership of the business, you can generally sell it whenever you would like. However, if the court decides some of your monetary gains from the business count as marital property (e.g. if your spouse dedicated some of their time to the management or growth of the business), you may still owe them some of those proceeds as part of the divorce.
If both you and your spouse have ownership stakes, as is the case with some family-owned small businesses, you will typically need their permission to move forward with the sale. It may be necessary to obtain court orders while the case is pending to address these type of issues.
Speak With An Experienced St. Louis Property Division Attorney
Property division is a major issue with any divorce. Whether you have modest means or a high net worth, it is important that the division of assets is done properly. Attorney Joe Bante understands this, and he works hard to ensure his clients receive a favorable result. At Rogers Sevastianos & Bante LLP, we practice daily in the St. Louis metro courts as well as understand the nuances of these courts and how they tend to apply the law.
We are skilled litigators and strong negotiators. When possible, we will seek to develop a fair and reasonable settlement without the need for costly and protracted litigation. However, if the other side is unreasonable, we are ready and able to aggressively advocate for your interests at both the trial and appellate levels. For a personalized consultation with attorney Joe Bante and the rest of our team, contact us today at 314-884-8991.