How do you splitq business if not married?

UPDATED: Aug 19, 2011

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How do you splitq business if not married?

My boyfriend and I have been together for over 7 years and started a flooring company. We both worked daily together to start and build this. He introduced me as his wife. We grossed about $140,000 a year; purchased and have about $25,000 in tools. Now that we are splitting up I am out of work and income and he gets everything. Is there anything I can do to have an income for a short period of time from him, a settlement of some kind, and or part of the tools and such? Would I be wasting time and money by going to a lawyer?

Asked on August 19, 2011 Nebraska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You should consult with an attorney. You may be able to establish some interest in the business, if you can show that you invested in it in some fashion (e.g. put money into it; donated property to it; worked at below market wage for what you were doing) based on an agreement or understanding that you would own part of the business and/or be repaid in some fashion. You need an attorney to evaluate all the circumstances of how you worked there, what was said, what you put into the business.

You would most likely not be entitled to anything for being his girlfriend however, since "girlfriend" is not a relationship recognized by law. Once in a great while, you hear about a successful "palimony" suit, so you could discuss whether you might have a cause of action on this ground with your attorney, but it is doubtful. Your best bet is probably to establish an interest in the business.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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