Business Divorces – When partners decide to split

The same principles of tracing assets that apply to martial divorce with the division of assets apply to business ventures where business partners form a business with success and profit in mind. The partners work together for a few years and develop dislikes because one partner lives in another state and contributes less time to the business, or one partner is aggressive with the use of company funds or credit cards. A firm partnership agreement must be in place that identifies the dos and don’ts regarding company assets, employees, credit, and accounting.

Scenario: Partners develop a relationship with a countryman in the United States who lives in a different state but has an established business, sound business practices, and money to invest. The other two partners had ideas on how to make money in the United States but did not have any money. They approached an aging business owner in their state of residence about selling his established business to them. Disclosures were made to the money partner, who agreed to invest his 1/3, while another partner secured his investment with a loan from his family in his homeland. Partner three did not contribute anything but “sweat equity.” The purchase was made, and the two partners received the funds.

The business prospered, and the partners were paid quarterly draws. Then, the two operating partners declared they wanted guaranteed payments in addition to the draws agreed upon. That was not enough, so they purchased luxury cars to haul food, and then the credit card started to grow in amount. The out-of-state partner arrived, reviewed the financial records, and began asking questions. The two partners were insulted by the questions and stopped making records available and answering questions. A lawsuit ensued, and Sage Investigations was hired. After pouring over the records and tracing the funds to and from the frozen bank accounts, it was determined that the third partner had not contributed one-third to the capital formation of the partnership. After an attempt to mediate a settlement, nearly two years passed, and a trial was set.

One more attempt was made to mediate. The mediator established what the parties wanted from the settlement. Sage’s client bartered back and forth with the mediator and walked away with a high six-figure settlement funded from the company’s frozen bank accounts.

Business divorce matters are very complicated financial transactions and require an in-depth and full financial investigation that most investigators will not attempt. Sage Investigations, LLC, and its team are not the average PI or accounting firm. They specialize in forensic accounting and proving or disproving complex financial matters. As an IRS Special Agent, Edmond Martin has over 50 years of experience in financial investigations, including Ponzi schemes, advanced fee schemes, embezzlements of all shapes and sizes, oil and gas-related fraud, shareholder derivative lawsuits, money laundering, and income tax schemes of all levels. Martin has used direct and indirect methods of proof to establish unreported income and fraud. Martin’s knowledge and methods are “Old School,” but with the use of computer technology, his methods have been modernized. With the addition of Jason Slick, a brilliant computer scientist and fraud investigator, the financial investigative DIO model created by Sage Investigations is unsurpassed and is very beneficial to their clients. The Sage website is , and Martin and Slick can be contacted at or call 512-659-3179. Let Sage “shed light on the truth” for your client.