Back in April 2020, Jay Cutler (Chicago Bears Quarterback) and Kristin Cavallari (Reality TV Star) announced they were filing for divorce after seven (7) years of marriage. During their marriage, Kristin Cavallari started a very successful business known as Uncommon James. So, who keeps the marital business? Just this past weekend, the tabloids announced that Jay Cutler requested half of the value of the business. Of course, the tabloids and the Court of public opinion are shaming him and blaming him for turning their divorce into a nightmare. However, is he wrong to ask for half of the value of the business?
If their divorce proceedings were in Florida, the answer is no because she started her business while they were married. If you start a business during your marriage, even if only one spouse is listed as the owner, it is marital property. Even more frustrating for some people to accept is that a business started before your marriage can be marital property. Of course this depends on the specifics of a case and potential of comingling.
Once the Court determines the business is marital property, the Court must determine the value of the said business. Each party may have a valuation done, or the parties could mutually agree to hire one person to evaluate the business. The next step is for the Court to distribute the business equitably between the parties. Generally speaking, the Court divides marital assets and liabilities equally. This happens unless there is a legally sufficient justification for an unequal distribution based on the relevant statutory factors.
When filing the petition, it is important to list the business as a party to the case. You want to be sure that the court has jurisdiction to split or sell the business or its assets, and to be able to obtain business related documents.
For assistance with how to equally, or unequally divide your marital business, contact our office to set up a consultation with one of our Attorneys.