How do you value intangible assets during business divorce?

Although you might not have thought about the similarities between owning a business and being married, many of the same considerations apply to both. External demands, interpersonal struggles and uncontrollable variables all seem to accompany businesses and marriages.

Communication is imperative both in a marriage and in a successful business. Non-emotional conversations to figure out how things will work can help minimize conflict. Yet, sometimes no matter how hard you work to create a successful business or a lasting relationship, it doesn’t always withstand the test of time. When the breakup occurs, how are assets divided and what about hard-to-quantify intangible assets?

Not all assets are tangible

When business ownership has a role in divorce, attaching a dollar amount to all that’s at stake can significantly affect property division. Real estate, equipment, inventory, vehicles and cash serve as clear examples of physical, tangible assets. The potential value of investment accounts, contracts or agreements should also factor into a business valuation. Meanwhile, that which is unseen may still possess value, not to be forgotten or overlooked in a settlement.

Despite your pending dissolution, you and your spouse likely shared personal matters, including relationships, that led to your outward success. The same may be true in your business, and it can be incredibly difficult to attach a dollar amount to valuable but intangible assets such as:

  • Intellectual property
  • Brand recognition
  • Relationships
  • Reputation

A savvy attorney could help you place a value on these intangible assets during your asset division in the divorce process.