Business ownership can be difficult to navigate during a divorce.  Here’s everything to know about business ownership in an Ohio divorce.

Spouses may wish to continue operating a business or sell it in the process of divorce. Both options are available for spouses amid a divorce in Ohio. Although Ohio is an equitable distribution state, options exist to ensure businesses can stay in operation if it aligns with the spouse’s wishes.

Related: Legal Separation in Ohio

Equitable Distribution in Ohio

Ohio is an equitable distribution state, meaning the judge divides marital assets in half in a divorce. Assets include any item or building a spouse acquires during the marriage. Both parties will likely receive half of the assets as a share or monetary amount. A judge may make exceptions to asset division if they see fit. The judge does not divide separate property, and the spouse who owns the property keeps it.

Businesses as Marital Property

In Ohio, businesses a spouse starts during the marriage are marital property. Even if the business is separate property, if the spouse uses marital funds to support the business, it becomes marital property in a divorce. This distinction may make it difficult for divorcing couples to divide the business fairly.

Ways to Divide a Business in a Divorce

Continuing a business’ success is often in each spouse’s best interest. Therefore, different options exist to ensure the spouse(s) can still make income. Spouses may consider sole ownership, which allows the spouse primarily connected to the business to continue running it. In this situation, the spouse is responsible for the business, and the other spouse is not entitled to any profits or assets stemming from the operations. In return, the spouse who does not take on the business receives extra assets to compensate for the sole ownership.

Couples may also consider co-ownership. Co-ownership is a good option for spouses equally involved in the business. Spouses continue to work together on operating the business and divide profits equally.

The final option is selling the business. The judge equally divides profits from the sale among both spouses.

Related: How Much Does Divorce Cost in Ohio?

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