As if divorce weren’t complex enough, deciding what to do with a jointly run business can make things even more complicated. There aren’t any recent statistics that capture just how many couples jointly own a business. However, one statistic captured in 2000 suggested that just under 7 percent of all 22 million American small businesses were owned by couples that year.
When it comes to joint businesses, there’s no one size fits all approach to how to handle them in a divorce. Instead, what you choose to do will depend greatly on what assets you value most and how well you get along with your soon-to-be ex.
Although perhaps easier said than done, comprising with your ex to continue running the company as business partners is one option. To do this effectively, you and your ex should clearly define your roles related to the business. You may even need to draft new incorporation documents and bylaws to ensure that it adequately reflects each of your new responsibilities in the company.
If you two don’t think you can effectively work together with each other anymore, then one of you may ask the other if he or she would be willing to sell off his or her share of the company. If you’re the spouse making the offer, then you may find it best to offer to make payments in monthly installments with interests over the course of a few years as opposed to a lump sum up front. Before you do this, though, you may benefit from having an independent third party come in and appraise the company first.
In a situation in which you and your ex don’t want to continue working together or surrender a portion of the business to the other, then you two may be best off offering up the company for sale. Finding a buyer will likely not be a fast process and, if you run a franchise or have investors, you’ll likely have to get his or her approval before the sale can be made. After the sale is made, you two can split the proceeds from the sale.
If you and your ex jointly own a business and you’re looking to understand more about ways it can be divided up, then a Ft. Myers high asset divorce attorney can provide guidance in your legal matter.
Source: Nerd Wallet, “What to do when your ex is your business partner,” Jackie Zimmerman, accessed Nov. 24, 2017