In any case involving business ownership, whether the business venture began during the marriage or before the marriage, leads to special valuation and distribution issues. This is particularly complicated if the business is privately held by a few owners. Sometimes a portion or the entire business interest has been gifted from a family member. The lawyer needs to identify the business value at marriage, at receipt of the gift, at time of separation and the current value. In many instances the basis for valuation is controversial and subject to challenge. The lawyer will ask the client to hire a business evaluator. Client cooperation is key to efficiently and comprehensively completing the calculation of values as needed. The non-business owner client often has unique insights to share with the evaluator. In a case where the spouse has business income due to ownership, it may be considered income from an asset, not income available for support. Your attorney will assess the most favorable treatment of the business as an asset and as a source for future support for each client.