Can I Keep A Business I Started If My Wife Has An Ownership Stake?

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I started a business and gave my wife a large ownership stake; however, I am now considering divorce.

Is there any way I can simply give her half our assets and keep the business for myself?

She also seems to fit the description of a dependent spouse — is there any way to avoid alimony?

Pennsylvania divorce attorney Jaimie Collins


In Pennsylvania, there is no default 50-50 division of marital assets and debts in a divorce.

Therefore, it is in the court’s discretion as to the percentages assigned to each marital asset and marital debt.

Oftentimes, in this state, division of the marital estate is skewed in the dependent spouse’s favor.

That being said, the parties can agree to whatever terms they see fit, including a waiver of claims to a business.

If the parties are not in agreement as to division of the business, then a business valuation will need to be performed.

While the specific factors your state relies on may be different, Pennsylvania law looks to some of the following in determining an award for alimony:

  1. The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties;
  2. The sources of income of both parties;
  3. The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;
  4. The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment;
  5. The relative assets and liabilities of the parties;
  6. The contribution of a spouse as a homemaker;
  7. The relative needs of the parties; and
  8. Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment.

As with equitable distribution of the marital estate, the parties may agree to waive alimony. Otherwise, the general rule of thumb is that one year of alimony is awarded for every three years of marriage.

Alimony, in general, terminates upon the dependent spouse’s cohabitation, remarriage or death.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on your situation, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pennsylvania divorce lawyer Jaimie Collins, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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