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DIVORCE 39: Each party awarded their businesses free and clear of the other party.

D and C married on October 4, 2008. The couple has no children together. During the marriage, the parties lived together in a home purchased by D before the marriage that had become marital property through C’s financial investments. They each own their own business; C owns a salon and D owns a used car sales and auto repair business. In total, they owned five pieces of real estate. They also had significant debt.

C filed for divorce on December 4, 2018.The parties could not agree on the division of their assets and debts and the matter eventually went to trial.

Divorce Trial

At trial, the parties presented evidence regarding the value of their real estate holdings, their vehicles, and other miscellaneous items. They also presented evidence regarding their outstanding debts. C’s counsel presented a document listing values for inventories at D’s business.

The trial court issued a written opinion and order on April 16, 2019. The court found that in 2017, C’s salon showed a profit of over $50,000 and that she was the recipient of rental income ($17,742.00) derived from her renting chairs located within her salon, and by renting an apartment located on the premises. David’s business, although once highly profitable, had fallen on hard times, largely due to D’s substance abuse. The court noted that D’s business carries substantial debt, which not only encumbers the business and the premises from which it operates, but also encumbers all the other real estate holdings of the parties, except for C’s hair salon. According to D’s 2017 income tax returns, he earned a salary from his business of $62,198.00.

Court Decision

The court continued that the parties did not provide a business valuation of either of their ventures. The court declined to assign a value for either business given the lack of evidence. The court acknowledged that both parties wished to retain their own businesses, independent of the other.

Ultimately, the court valued the entire marital estate at $914,100 and marital debt at $829,566.80, for a total equity value of only $84,533.20. The court awarded each party their businesses and business properties free and clear of any claim of the other party.

Experienced Advice to Clients Facing Divorce

At the Plymouth and Ann Arbor law firm of Aldrich Legal Services, our attorneys have the skill and experience you need to address all family law issues that may arise during your divorce, including:

  • Property division
  • Child custody and parenting time
  • Child and spousal support
  • Division of property

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