Madison Property Division Lawyer
How Will Property Be Divided Following Divorce?
In Wisconsin, the court assumes the total value of all property and debts are divided equally in a divorce. The court has the authority to award something different than an equal division of the estate if certain factors are present.
The attorneys at Balisle Family Law Legal Counsel, S.C. are experienced in helping clients determine whether assets are included or excluded from the marital estate; whether there are strong reasons to adjust the presumed equal property division; and, if a payment must be made to equalize the property division, what terms for payment are reasonable.
In complex cases where a family business has provided the funds for the family’s support and standard of living, divorcing parties are often confronted with the challenge of how to share in the fair market value of the business without destroying the business. Attorney Linda S. Balisle at Balisle Family Law Legal Counsel, S.C. has extensive experience in working out this very issue.
Having represented clients with business interests in every industry in Wisconsin, we know how to work closely with the client’s professional advisers, accountants and financial institutions to insure the end of a marriage does not mean the end of a successful business.
Family or Privately Held Business & Divorce
While most divorces involve two spouses, when there is a family business, there are usually many unnamed parties to the divorce: the founder, a trustee of shares held for family members, non-family owners, lending institutions, in-laws who are employees of the business, and dependents who rely on the business for health care benefits and support. Decisions made by the divorcing spouses can affect all the unnamed parties.
Each family presents unique facts, but many questions asked are universal to most divorce cases.
- Are all assets, including my business interest, included?
- Do we have to divide each asset and debt equally?
- How do we find out how much our assets, including my business, are worth?
- Do the business agreements between shareholders control what the judge in a divorce can decide?
- What if all or part of the business interest was a gift or inheritance?
- What if the business is cash poor but has a high value for its assets? How do I pay my spouse half the value of the business?
- Can the court force both spouses to work together after divorce?
- Can the court force the sale of the business?
- Can the court take into account that we wanted our children to eventually take over the business?
- What if it's always been my family's business, but my spouse is the CEO?
- Do we have to go to court where the public can attend?
Avoiding a contested public trial before a judge is usually a high priority, but trials do happen. Often, after a couple has prepared for trial, they discover they are able to resolve the issues with the help of a mediator. Often, couples choose private resolution through a combination of mediation and arbitration in a private setting, where no public record is created.
Attorney Linda S. Balisle is the founder of Balisle Family Law Legal Counsel, S.C., a full-service family law firm in Madison, Wisconsin, with a statewide practice. Attorney Balisle serves as both advocate counsel and mediator in divorces involving business owners and high net worth individuals.