What are my financial rights in a divorce? 20 Answers as of April 27, 2011

I have been a stay at home mom for 22 years. We own our own company. What are my rights? Will I given financial rights? My husband feels he owns everything because I haven’t worked.

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Texas is a community property state. The important thing for you to remember is that your husband did not write the law, he is not the judge and he does not control this issue. Community Property is a constitutional matter, your husband feels like many men in Texas, but he, like the others, is wrong. That said, valuing a company is not as easy as it appears. You need to start gathering information, as much financial information on the company as you can secure. What furniture, computers, intellectual property does the company own, etc. What assets are there? Is the company in debt, if so, how much? Who is the accountant or CFO? If the CFO is your husband, what software does he use? Does the company have more than one bank account? Where are the bank accounts? Is the company a DBA or does it have DBA's within it? Is it incorporated, if so when?

That last one brings up an important point. If the company is incorporated and was incorporated prior to marriage, it may be his separate property. However, that does not mean he is off scott-free. Is this case in Collin County or Dallas County, Texas? If so, please call my firm. I would like to discuss some options with you personally, not the least of which is a current bill in the Texas Legislature that will (if it passes) have a substantial impact on your case. This bill completely overhauls the Spousal Support statutes - it passed the house unanimously yesterday, it is headed to the Senate now. Again, it is not law yet, and you owe it to yourself to ensure you hire a lawyer that has been following this bill. Filing one day too soon can have a monumental financial impact on you if the bill passes and is not retroactive. My firm is located in Plano.

Otherwise, you can search this thread on the site for articles I have written, I am certain that I have posted information on Spousal Support/Alimony in the past - though keep in mind the Bill pending in the legislature at this moment will completely overhaul the statute if if passes and change these rules. As currently written, the changes are all to your benefit. Finally, be mindful, we are talking about politics so everything in the Bill is still subject to change.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 4/27/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
He is in for a rude awakening. Everything used as a part of the marital estate is fair game, as well as alimony based on your 22 year marriage. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 4/26/2011
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
Assuming he started the business after you married you could argue that the business is marital property
Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Replied: 4/27/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
You have significant financial rights to pursue in a Divorce. All income of you or your husband during the marriage, and all property acquired by you and/or your husband during the marriage, is community property unless there was a prenuptial agreement validly entered between you and your husband setting forth otherwise, or unless there was a valid transmutation made of community property to your husband. You have not indicated that either exception has occurred. In a divorce, you are entitled to 50% of the net assets acquired and accumulated during the marriage. The company is half yours. You are also entitled to Spousal Support and Child Support (if any of the children haven't yet reached majority) and Attorney's Fees. You should retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to represent you in your divorce, to pursue your rights.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/26/2011
Harris Law Firm
Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
Being a stay at home parent is a job and has value. In Oregon, the courts will divide martial property according to what is just and equitable, meaning, what is fair. Your husband was able to put his time and energy into your business because you were there to provide support at home. The court will take that into consideration. I would consult with an attorney, however; as this type of situation can lead to the non-working party feeling pressured to settle, and may cause an unjust result.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 4/26/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    I am afraid that your question is far to broad to answer in a brief post. Financial settlements in divorce may consist of a division of property and debt as well as awards or denials of spousal support. With regard to property and debt, there is a presumption that any assets or debts acquired during the marriage, regardless of how they are titled, should be divided equitably. That means fairly and not mathematically equally. Spousal support, by contrast, is not based on any set formula and would depend on a vast number of factors.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 4/26/2011
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
    You own 50% of the community property, hire a family law attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/26/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Under the facts described, you should have many rights, including a marital claim to the value of the family business as well as other assets accumulated during your 22 year marriage. You would be well advised to arrange for a consultation with an attorney who handles family law matters in the state where you currently reside and who should be able to advise you in more detail as to these matters.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 4/26/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    You have the right to an equitable share of the marital property, which probably includes the business. Equitable means "fair", not necessarily equal, and depends on a number of factors. You also have the right ask for spousal maintenance (alimony). How much and for how long depends on the exact facts of your case and how a judge would assess the situation. You husband's view of things based on your lack of employment for 22 years is dead wrong and he may be in for a rude awakening when he talks to a lawyer. You should consult a lawyer yourself to get a better analysis of what you can reasonably expect in your situation.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/26/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    Unfortunately, there are no automatic "rights" between divorcing couples. Based on the information you have provided, I believe you should seek child custody and support, alimony, and a fair division of the marital assets.

    On the same token, your husband is morally and legally wrong to believe that he will be entitled to everything. And given his attitude, I would strongly recommend having an experienced divorce attorney help you obtain a fair outcome.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 4/25/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    Your husband is wrong. Very, very wrong. There is a lot to talk about. Give me a call, make an appointment to come see me, and let's get moving on this for you. No charge for the first office visit. I know people worry about how expensive a lawyer is, so I am careful to be as inexpensive as I can for my clients. Before you spend a dime, you will know how much this is likely to be.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 4/25/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    In a marriage this long you start out by dividing everything equally. If you wish to discuss further we have a free initial consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 4/25/2011
    Lori C. Obenauf LLC
    Lori C. Obenauf LLC | Lori C. Obenauf
    You own it all you can get your share (at least 50percent) probably alimony.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/25/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    Well, yoiur husband is absolutely Wrong!!! You are entitled to equitable (meaning fair) distribution of everything that he and you have worked on over the last two decades and more. In fact, you are entitled to half of everything that's been earned, accumulated and comingled (if inherited by either of you). Even things that have remained in separate names, if earned or accumulated during the term of the marriage, are considered marital property and are subject to fair distribution between the two of you.

    I strongly suggest you consult with an experienced matrimonial attorney as soon as you can so you will learn your complete rights. You may also learn more on my website that's noted below. Do not give up under any circumstances.

    Get a good lawyer and fight for what's yours. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/25/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    It is not possible to completely answer your question without more information. With that said, generally speaking, you likely have community property rights, support rights, and if you have children, custody and visitation rights, to name a few. It would be advisable to contact a local family law lawyer to discuss the particulars of your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/25/2011
    Owings Law Firm
    Owings Law Firm | Tammy B. Gattis
    You own it all you can get your share (at least 50percent) probably alimony.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 4/25/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Youare entitled to a "fair and equitable" division of all assets and debts.What is fair depends on many factors includingthe nature of the property (separate or community, length of marriage, andvery importantly your respective financial futures). If there is child support and/or maintenance paid to you that matters too. Fifty percent of everyting is not required but is a starting point and probalby youcould get more depending on whether you're also getting maintenance.There is some authority that the financial arrangments should make your financial futures equal. The fact you haven't worked is a factor in your favor to receive morebecausea) your work skills are stale b) it is harder to start a career now c) you havn't earned as much social security benefits. Consider using the collaborative process to solve your divorce. See www.collaborativepractice.com Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/25/2011
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