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Dividing a family business in divorce

On Behalf of | Sep 4, 2020 | Divorce

Divorcing couples face countless challenges as their marriage comes to an end. They must negotiate numerous disputes and navigate heated emotions while resolving logistical and financial problems for betterment of their futures. From property division to parenting time, both parties must work to resolve their differences to reach a compromise.

After years or decades of marriage, a couple might find it difficult to divide assets and debts. Finances can seem inextricably fused together. Shared debt can be a challenge to separate, for example, or shared investments such as retirement plans or a family business can seem impossible to divide. When handling a business division, however, there are generally three paths the divorcing couple can choose to follow.

  • One spouse keeps the business: Ultimately, this might be the most common path. Typically, the spouse more invested in the daily operation of the business will buy out the other spouse’s stake in the organization based on the appraised value.
  • Both spouses keep the business: This solution will not work for everyone. Many marriages end with acrimony and hurt feelings. Similarly, even if the marriage ends on positive terms, a divorcing couple might not want to be forced to work together for years or decades. However, it is not uncommon for both spouses to have emotional ties to the business and they are willing to work together amicably. It’s a less common option, but it is an option, nonetheless.
  • Both spouses sell the business: It is not uncommon for neither spouse to have much interest in continuing to run a business that was started under happier circumstances. In these situations, the divorcing couple might choose to sell the business and split the proceeds. This can take some time, however, as the business must be properly valued and then a buyer must be identified. These additional steps might lengthen the divorce process.

It is important to work with an experienced family law attorney who can provide guidance based on your specific goals and desires. Do not hesitate to ask questions that help you overcome obstacles and complete the divorce process as efficiently as possible.