1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Not to worry. Check out the archived thread of the Q&A with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, and the LawnSite community in the Franchising forum .

    Dismiss Notice

Legal Question

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Paradise Landscapes, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. Paradise Landscapes

    Paradise Landscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 960

    Getting a divorce from the Ex in January.

    I am right now a Sole-Proprietor. IF I change status to LLC, Can the Ex still attack me for business revenue/assets?
  2. mowyo

    mowyo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 84

    Dude,you need an attorney like yesterday
  3. CkLandscapingOrlando

    CkLandscapingOrlando LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 652

    I'm not positive but I think so. At least your share of it. Now if your brother and kids were officers and owened x amount then that I would think would be off limits. Is she really after the grass man? That really sucks.
  4. Paradise Landscapes

    Paradise Landscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 960

    I currently have an ATTY. I never thaught about asking him this. I did tell him I wanted to start a biz. He told me to wait till it's finalized till I can FULLY letter my truck.

    He literally told me that he'll let me know when by telling me across the court room as I walk out so he makes sure Ex is Heard " Charles, Now you can go letter your truck"
  5. cmdnvs

    cmdnvs LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    If your ownership in the company came before or while you were married, and your state allows it (I think Ohio does), then yes, she has claim to half of whatever you have.

    That doesn't change whether it's a sole prop, llc, c corp or s corp. she can come after half, best thing to do is get her to agree to having no part of it in the divorce papers, if she wants half of it though, she can definitely go after it.
  6. Paradise Landscapes

    Paradise Landscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 960

    I'm rather starting out all over again. I posted on LS My whole ordeal since 2000. All I have is my truck, 5 plow cusomers, chain saw, Trimmer/Brush Cutter, and a BP Blower. I when married to her bills needed paid so I sold my trailer and lawn Equipment.

    Going after a college education to start all over again using student loans to buy equipment and advertize.
  7. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,083

    Paradise - I went through a 3 year $400K+ divorce as a sole proprietor based business so I know (and feel) where you are coming from.
    Ordinarily there is a provision in most states for the division of assets acquired during the marriage and this may as well include your business assets as well.
    The only way it wouldn't is if your soon to be ex had a comparable business value she was running so it may be a wash.
    There are advantages to incorporation in instances like divorce as a wife cannot pursue half of a business if she was never elected to the board of directors but she can still pursue half of your net worth which may or may not include an incorporated business.
    Regarding you divorce attorney, contact the state where the divorce will occur for info on a lawyer review system - meaning whatever agency monitors licensed attorney's will have info on complaints, actions taken against all types of attorney's - and check to see if your attorney is on that list.
    If the attorney is - run like hell to another attorney who isn't.
    Also, set a limit that you will pay. This consists of a retainer which is usually not refundable then set a limit usually no more than twice the original retainer rate. If the attorney will not abide by your stipulation - find a relatively "new" attorney specifically licensed to practice family type law as the regs change all of the time and you may very well be hurt but an older attorney set in their ways who may get blindsided.
    A tip I picked up too late to help me is to contact ALL of the attorney's in your area and speak with all of them during the initial consultation phase - even if you are not planning upon hiring them. Why?
    Because then they cannot represent your wife as it would be a conflict of interest.
    Also check with the court bailiffs - these people are your best source of competent verse the court flies. Ask them who they would really not like to face as an opposing council and there is the attorney for you.
    One last thing - nice guys finish last in divorces regardless of how the event starts out.
    You will be much better off if you establish a matrix of assets both personal and professional starting with those items which have the most value. Indicate what the item is, the value it has, when it was acquired so when you finally sit down to speak with whomever you have hired to represent you they have an immediate "picture" of what they are facing.
    Now is also the time to establish a revocable trust, kind of like a "living will".
    In this document you identify another person who may lawfully obtain your assets in the advent of your demise during a divorce as most states have provisions in marital asset division during a divorce which may not necessarily revert to your ex during the divorce process.
    As a final point, I would contact ALL of your clients, explain you are in the process of a divorce - more as a warning if your service level drops a bit during this time. I did this as soon as I saw the inevitable "cycling" of my company's service and I did not lose one client - in fact the most common comment I received was they thought something was going on and all were behind me 100%. If anything my coming "clean" with my clients has really boosted their support and loyalty with me and my company because I was honest, I continued to honor the contracts and when an error occurred I corrected it as quickly as possible.
  8. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,083

    I saw your post immediately proceeding mine after I posted mine - so sorry about that.
    The first question is whose bills were paid - hers or yours?
    Also from where/when did the bills originate - pre marriage or post?
    All of this should factor into how much, if anything, your ex is entitled too.
    I would suggest that you keep your attorney on a short leash unless you both know and completely trust this person.
  9. Paradise Landscapes

    Paradise Landscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 960

    I made sure all bills were paid after a few months checks would bounce when she took care of that. Since I took those over, no bounced checks, went separate bank accts. Never really gave her money due to her whining. (Which never started till after got married) Last year before starting college, She used my checking Acct. and bought herself an online porn accts. $400.00 worth. Glad she'll be gone soon!

    BRENTMAN LawnSite Member
    Posts: 66

    Ouch, she'll probably use that porn thing against you and say you bought it with your own checking acct which will probably make you look pretty bad in court.

Share This Page