Clients often ask their lawyers this question and the problem is that each case is made up of a unique set of factors that judges can consider when fairly dividing the marital property.
So many divorcing couples think they have to go to court to get a fair resolution, or any kind of resolution, to these types of issues.
However, going to court (i.e., a litigated divorce) can result in unexpected property divisions, no matter how skilled and experienced your lawyer might be in arguing your case. Therefore, in these matters, one cannot say exactly what you or your spouse is entitled to according to the law.
So, divorcing couples might consider instead thinking about what they, individually and/or together, believe is a fair result, given all the facts and circumstances. If one spouse stayed home and managed the children and household and entertained for fifteen years so that the other spouse could devote all waking hours to increasing the value of a pre-marital business, then perhaps the increase in value should be subject to division, at some reasonable percentage.
I would recommend, if you want to have some control over the outcome of the division of property, you should consider using either Collaborative Divorce or Divorce Mediation, both of which seek to obtain an out-of-court settlement cost effectively and with privacy.