Divorce with a business? What do you need to consider

Going through a divorce is never easy on either partner, especially when neither of you banked on doing this when you got married.

divorce

 

However, your divorce proceedings can become even more complicated when you and your spouse run a business together.

You may have put your heart and soul into establishing and growing your business together. But if continuing to work with your ex-partner following your divorce isn’t on the cards, then it makes sense that you will want to do everything you can to protect your business.

Emotions will be running raw anyway, so you will find it difficult to make sensible decisions about the future of your business that will work out in your best interests. You may be prepared to face the end of your marriage, but not the loss of your business too. So, what can you do?

Do I have to give up my business?

If you feel passionate about your business and want to continue investing your time into it, it is unlikely that you will lose it during your divorce. Usually, the court will divide the marital assets equally between divorcing partners. This can include a business you own together, but you don’t have to sell your half of the company if you don’t want to.

The court has the power to order the sale of a business, but this is only enforced under the most difficult of circumstances. The courts are cautious about using this power, so don’t go into your divorce thinking that you will automatically lose your business as part of the divorce proceedings.

If you want to keep hold of your business and use it to help provide for your children for years to come, then although it may be tempting to sell up and move on, it may not be in your interests to do this in the long term.

Getting the legal advice and support you need

Coming to an agreement about the future of your business can be difficult when your emotions are running high or if you hold some feelings of resentment towards your ex-partner. 

It can help to bring in a third party for this process to mediate for you. Getting advice and guidance from a trained solicitor at this time can be invaluable. 

A family law specialist will help to facilitate a clear and open communication channel between you and your ex-partner to reach an amicable settlement. In many cases, divorced couples can go on to build a good working relationship and will continue to work together for the sake of the business.

Can I buy out my ex-partner?

If you and your ex-partner cannot continue to work on the business together, then there is the option of buying them out. If your ex-spouse is happy to walk away from the company, then you could buy their share in the business. 

There are a few ways to do this. For example, if you know that you and your partner will never work together amicably, then you could offer them a lump sum payment meaning they can walk away and you will never need to deal with them again. 

You could retain full ownership of the business but pay your ex-partner maintenance payments from the business profits. This could be a good arrangement if you have children together and want to support your ex-partner if they are primarily responsible for raising your children.