Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
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How to value and divide a business in divorce

Georgia couples who are business owners and who are divorcing will need to get some sense of what that business is worth. A valuation analyst can provide this information, but there are different approaches to doing this analysis depending on the couple's needs.

If an arbitrator or judge needs the information, then the couple might need what is known as a "full valuation." This is the the more thorough, costly, and time-consuming of the two methods. A full valuation might also be necessary if the business is complex or if the relationship between the couple is particularly adversarial.

If the couple is in mediation or otherwise negotiating the divorce more amicably, a calculation of value may be sufficient. This is not as accurate as a full valuation, but not every couple will need a precise and thorough valuation at the beginning of the divorce process. A calculation of value is also quicker and less costly. Ultimately, a couple will need to make a decision based on their particular circumstances.

Once a figure is available for the value of the business, there may be other considerations. For example, one spouse may have helped the other build up the business by working to support them both in its early days. In such a case, that spouse might argue that they are entitled to a significant share of the business. On the other hand, one spouse may have owned the business prior to the marriage and might have had the other spouse sign a prenuptial agreement. If that agreement goes unchallenged, then the business might not be considered marital property that must be divided. If both spouses are owners in the business, then the situation may be more complicated. They might both continue to run it, or one may sell their share of the company to the other.

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Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
4799 Sugarloaf Pkwy
Building J
Lawrenceville, GA 30044

Phone: 770-676-1191
Fax: 770-963-2828
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