A divorce case may often revolve around matters like child custody and child support, alimony and property issues like who gets the house and the cars. Other times, they’re much more complex, especially if one or both spouses held ownership interests in one or more companies. When that happens, it is particularly important have knowledgeable Florida family law counsel on your side to make sure that your issues are handled skillfully.
C.B. and K.B. were a couple whose case presented that type of situation. They separated in 2014 after almost nine years of marriage. The pair had two sons together. They also owned and operated several businesses together.
When a couple like this divorces, there are a wide variety of issues they may need to resolve. In that type of situation, the more issues you can resolve through agreement, the more time and expense you may be able to save. Even then, it is important to be sure you get the right marital settlement agreement. In this couple’s case, they were able to resolve all issues related to their children, but division of assets was not something upon which they could agree completely. They agreed upon most asset-related things, but could not decide how to divide a real estate holding company that they co-owned.
When you don’t resolve an issue by agreement, you are deciding to submit it to the court to let the judge decide. The husband in this case argued that all of the property held by the holding company should be sold and the proceeds divided between the spouses. The trial judge agreed and ordered the sale and division of proceeds.
The wife appealed and was successful. Generally, the law gives trial judges broad discretion to make rulings when it comes to equitable distribution in divorce cases, so why was this different? The difference was the way that the couple had structured the real estate business. The holding company was established as something known as a limited liability company, or LLC. That meant that the holding company was its own separate legal entity. By contrast, and as an example, if you run you business as a sole proprietorship, you and your business are not legally distinct and the way that the court can treat that kind of business is different from businesses that are LLCs.
When a company is its own legal entity, it has certain legal rights. One of those is that it cannot be ordered to take actions by a court unless the business has been named as a party to the lawsuit that prompted the judicial order. In this case, the real estate LLC was not a party to the divorce case, so the judge could not permissibly order the LLC to sell off all its property and divide the proceeds.
Whether you are working toward a marital settlement agreement or litigating your divorce issues, you need to have an experienced advocate on your side. For all the family law issues in your life, rely upon the South Florida family law attorneys at Sandy T. Fox, P.A. Our attorneys have been providing clients with effective representation for many years. Contact our team online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation.
More blog posts:
What Impact Can Florida’s Homestead Exemption Have on Your Divorce Case?, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Dec. 5, 2018
Equitable Distribution and the Correct Date for Analyzing a Marital Estate in Florida, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Feb. 27, 2018