You definitely should hire the financial professional to value the business. If the business owner is not being co-operative about producing records – again, this is something that the courts see very frequently – the non-business owning spouse could file an application with the court and essentially take the control away from the spouse. Business owners are used to having control over their own business, control over their own lives. A lot of times, them not providing the requisite information is them seeking to have control over the process.
What will happen is a court will essentially take away their control of the process and put the control back into the non-business owning spouse. There's a couple of different ways they can do it: They can establish a discovery master who controls the flow of the information from the businesses. You could certainly serve subpoenas on financial institutions to obtain the business information. You also could even hire a receiver to collect all the profits and all the revenue from the business so that this way the business owner does not have the control that the business owner once had over the company.
All of these are extreme and expensive methods, however, these are ways that the non-business owning spouse can obtain the information that's required in order for them to value the business.
Alison Leslie is heavily involved with the New Jersey State Bar Association as a past chair of the Solo Small Firm Section. She served on the Family Law Executive Committee and is a member of the statewide Ethics Committee. Alison owned her own successful divorce firm for more than 10 years, and she frequently represents both the business owner and the non-business owning spouse in divorce. For more information about Alison and her firm, visit www.leslielawfirm.com.Back To Top