What are my options/rights in this situation?

When my husband and I first got married, 14 years ago, he had no money and no profession to speak of, while I had money from an inheritance. I paid for his studies, supported him while he was studying and while he started his practice. We moved to NC 10 years ago and I paid for the move, supported him while he started his business here again, and also put a $30,000 down payment on our house. I worked for the business as well, without a salary or anything like that, and in 2006 decided to make it into a partnership LLC. I got one of those online kits and filed for it myself. I kept managing the business, doing all the marketing, web design and optimization, ghostwriting, bookkeeping, etc. I basically made it into a business, put his name and the business out there, working from home (and taking care of our daughter), while he was seeing clients at the clinic.

We’ve been separated for a year now, and looking into filing for divorce. He’s had a new relationship for this past year as well. We were both considering mediation instead of court, since we’d like to maintain a diplomatic relationship for our daughter’s sake, but now that the time to do so is here, there are some issues…

When he left me, he said the business would support us both and everything would “be the same.” I decided to start my own practice as an intuitive counselor and finish a book I’m writing. However, this past year has been very difficult emotionally and financilaly, so my personal business is taking a while to take off (I don’t have enough money for marketing). The LLC business hasn’t been doing that well for the past few years either, so we have gotten into debt (both personal and business debt). This year has been especially low.

Now that he has a friend as a financial advisor, and he is stressed out about finances, he wants to stop supporting me and kick me out of the business, saying that the LLC is nothing because it wasn’t done by an attorney and he didn’t sign anything. He says he can dissolve it and there is nothing I can do about it. Is this true? We’re the only 2 members.

He had told me before that when we sold the house I could get back my down payment, but now he is saying that the money should go into paying the debt and that I should get a job because he will only pay 1/2 the mortgage while the house sells.

So now that the marriage is over, he ends with a profession he loves, a business, a girlfriend, and I end up with nothing to fall back on to start a career again, since I dedicated the past 13-14 years to our business and family, supporting his dreams. Our daughter stays with me 5 days a week and 2 with him.

Could you please give me an idea of what my options/rights are here? Would a judge consider all my financial support, if we end up in court? Soon-to-be ex is basically saying that it was my choice to support him, that ”that’s what spouses do,“ and that it’s his choice not to support me now. Can he dissolve the LLC, leaving me with no right to claim any income from it? Where/how can I get some leverage here for an agreement?

I’d really appreciate any help/suggestions! Thanks!

You may be considered the dependent spouse in this situation. If you are already separated, I would suggest you file for post-separation support and child support. You also should file for equitable distribution (which would cover the business and any real estate, bank accounts, etc.). ED will split all assets and debts. It is possible your debts outweigh the assets, and then you would be dividing debt. You should not be forced to pay 1/2 the mortgage while the house is selling if you are in fact the dependent spouse. I cannot say if he would be able to dissolve the LLC unilaterally. I would need to see the paperwork myself and even then it may need to be referred to a corporate attorney. I highly recommend you consult with an attorney to discuss your case.

Thank you for your reply! It looks like I will have to consult with an attorney to go over every detail of this.

You are welcome! I do think a consultation will help you to create a plan of action. I wish you all the best.