It’s a situation where the spouse who is less familiar with the business enterprises is going to really need some professional help in order to successfully get through the system. That means, at a minimum, that they’re going to need to retain a lawyer who’s well-versed in the concept of business valuation. The business valuation is going to include assembling records. That means that the tax returns are going to have to be produced by the other spouse. They’re going to review bank statements, financial statements and the like, and documentary evidence of the level of sales and the expenditures that are made from the business.
It’s almost inevitably going to include a valuation expert, and oftentimes that person is a Certified Public Accountant who has additional credentials beyond their CPA that enable them to actually conduct a business valuation. That expert will review the documents that have been assembled, conduct some interviews with the principals of the business, apply certain valuation methodology, and ultimately determine what the actual value is. Without knowing what the true value of the business is, it isn’t possible to get your fair share. It’s very necessary in the context of a divorce to do that correctly, do it appropriately, and do it with people who are well-experienced in that area of the law.
Chuck Roberts is family lawyer at Momkus McCluskey Roberts, LLC, one of the largest law firms in DuPage County, Illinois.