– from Annie C. in North Prairie, WI

Question Details:

I am just beginning divorce negotiations with my husband. So far it has been amicable (to an extent, of course). The areas of tension tend to fall around his business. We have agreed on maintenance and family support, but not his total worth. I want to count all areas of his half of the business he and his partner jointly own. He is arguing that work in progress cannot be counted toward divisible income because it has not been completed. He also argues that  it will be split between him, his partner, and overhead before it becomes his spendable income, and then there are taxes. My question is, which areas of his business will be divided?

Family Law Attorney Response:

This property division question has a very complex answer. However, it must be said that the courts will ultimately decide what is to be divided based on many factors.The 50-50 presumption is always a factor, but I would need to know many more details in order to give you an accurate answer.

I would advise you to contact an experience divorce attorney before venturing any further into these proceedings.

I can, however, give you an example as to how this case could play out. In the case of Ondrasek v. Ondrasek 126 Wis. 2d 469, 377 N.W.2d 190 (Ct. App. 1985), a similar case took place. The court's award excluded the accounts receivable, found no value for the work in progress, and discounted the value of real estate by the amount of estimated capital gains tax due for its theoretical sale. It also awarded the wife family support and an attorney fees' contribution. The wife appealed, and the court affirmed the valuation of the work in progress and the attorney fee award. However, it also reversed the exclusion of accounts receivable and the valuation of the real estate.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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