Can I be reimbursed for helping my spouse build a business?

In California, a high-asset divorce is inevitably complicated, particularly if there is a successful business as part of the marriage. Often, one party ran the business while the other either played a minor role in its operation or was not involved at all.

However, the party that was not intimately involved in the business might argue that they played an integral role in its creation, growth and success in other ways.

These types of disputes can be complicated. For the person who is making the claim that they deserve reimbursement and the one who protests, it is wise to have a fundamental understanding of the law and to have professional representation.

What factors are considered with reimbursements?

When a person is overseeing a business, they will likely have had some form of education or training in learning their strategies. When the community contributed to their education or training financially or in other ways, then this could be considered a significant level of assistance and warrant reimbursement.

To achieve fairness in the divorce, the community will need to be reimbursed for those contributions.

For example, if the working spouse was helped by the other spouse in paying back loans for their education or a trade school, then this would be a community contribution and needs to be paid back. It will have interest rates attached to it based on the legal level from the end of the calendar year when those contributions occurred.

If one party took out a loan during the marriage for the furthering of education and training, that will not be considered with the liabilities in the community property.

The keys to deciding if there should be reimbursement include the community substantially benefiting from the training, education or financial assistance provided. In some instances, both sides helped the other with their education and training. Therefore, this would be offset when the amount is determined.

Complicated divorces with requests for reimbursement require professional advice

Building a business and becoming a success is frequently a team effort even if one side did not play an active role in running the business. When there is a high-asset divorce and a disagreement over how much the sides should share in the credit, reimbursements could be a topic of discord.

Having guidance in these complex cases can be essential to reaching a fair outcome. It is possible the sides can negotiate. Or if they need to go to court, it is crucial to be legally protected. Contacting experienced and caring professionals can help with these types of disagreements.