Divorce Mediation for Business Owners in Orange County – Can Business Owners do Divorce Mediation?
We are lucky that Orange County is such an abundant place to do business. There are different types of businesses everywhere we look that range from small operations to large corporations. Although it is great to be self employed, it can complicate the divorce mediation process from time to time. There are a few reasons for this.
1. It is hard to figure out income
Any time a couple is thinking about divorce, they have to think about how they are going to make it work financially. This often means that one spouse will have to pay support to the other spouse. Usually, the amount of support is pretty simple to figure out when there are W-2 employees involved. However, in the case of a self employed spouse, it can be a little more difficult. Some self employed spouses do take home a regular pay check. However, even when they do, it is common for certain personal expenses to get run through the business. These expenses range from car payments to insurance, meals and entertainment, and everything in between.
Therefore, if this type of family comes to divorce mediation, we need to help them understand how much income there really is (and sometimes how little there is too). To do this, we often rely on the expertise of a neutral financial expert. This is a person with a forensic accounting background who has mediation training to allow him or her to guide couples through the mediation from a financial perspective. This professional prepares a report on the self employed spouse’s income and helps the couple understand the numbers. This is a huge added value!
2. How do we figure out a value?
Often times, there is a single person running the entire business operation. We have so many couples come to our office and tell us that the business has no value because “it is just me.” This is not always the case. Figuring out what the business is worth is a little bit more complex than that. To determine this, we use the same process as we do when we are looking at income. Typically, the neutral financial expert will value the business and assist the couple in understanding how he/she got to that number. Once the couple has that information, they can begin discussing how they think it is fair to divide it.
In my opinion, divorce mediation is all about information. Many of our clients walk in scared and confused. Those same clients leave here calm and empowered because they have been given the guidance they need to make fair and appropriate decisions for their families.
At Alternative Divorce Solutions, we are experienced in working with self employed spouses.