What are your options for the family business in a divorce?

Posted by Zachary A. VanDykeJul 06, 20210 Comments

When you married your spouse, you wanted to share everything together — and you built a business from the ground up in the process. Now, your marriage has failed, but the business remains.

How do you handle this sort of situation? When both of you are emotionally invested in the family business, it can be very difficult to think things through and coolly assess the possibilities. Here are the basics.

3 options for the family business

According to Forbes, there are three basic options for dealing with the family business in a divorce:

  1. Sell to a third party: Both spouses can decide to sell the business as a part of the divorce decree. By selling, partners can liquidate and divide the proceeds from the assets.
  2. One spouse sells their shares to the other: If one partner desires to continue with the business and the other spouse has no interest, then this may be a viable option. If the capital is not on hand for a complete buy-out, then the divorce decree can include payment options.
  3. Both keep the business: If the spouses are inclined to continue working together to build the business, then this may be an option. Despite marital challenges, some spouses can set aside their differences for the sake of the business. This leaves spouses that are divorced to be legally tied together with their business dealings. This option may not be for everyone, but it is an option.

Sometimes it is difficult to decide what to do with something like a family business that was built together. However, each spouse should consider their investment in the joint venture before walking away.  

The business was built together and the fate should be decided together with professional help. Legal counsel that is experienced in property division can be a great comfort in the confusion of divorce.