If you went into business with your spouse, you probably did so thinking your marriage would last forever.
Now you are facing a divorce. What will happen to the family business?
The business is an asset that you and your spouse own. Legally and financially, the court will treat it that way during the property division phase of your divorce. An option to consider is for one of you to buy the other one out. This will involve some expense because you will need to hire a professional to perform an appraisal and place a valuation on the business. If your spouse inherited the business from a family member, it might make sense for him or her to buy you out, but the subject is up for discussion.
Another option is to sell this asset outright. You will still need to have a professional valuation so you and your spouse can arrive at a suitable selling price. If the business sells quickly, you and your soon-to-be-ex can split the profit and move on. If it remains on the market for a while, the two of you may have to work together longer than you had planned.
If yours is going to be an amicable divorce, you might consider continuing to own the business together. In this case, you would not need a valuation, which would save you money. If you and your spouse believe it is possible to work together after the divorce—as some people can—then continuing as partners may be the best solution.
Depending on the path you choose, you may do well to put together a team of professionals, such as an attorney, an accountant and an appraiser, to guide you as you move forward. Determining the fate of a family business after a divorce is a matter that requires careful consideration.
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