How to Safeguard a Jointly Owned Business When Divorce Seems Inevitable

Some people think that you should always keep business and personal affairs separate, but this is very difficult to achieve if two married people have joint ownership of the company. All may be well until things start to sour in their married life, and in this case, such a disagreement could have repercussions for the organisation. What do you need to consider if you're unfortunate enough to be in that position now?

Binding Agreement

Hindsight is everything, but in an ideal world, the two parties should draft a legally binding agreement that details how you and your partner will treat any business assets in a separation. If you're still on reasonable terms and able to discuss the matter now, perhaps you can still come up with a solution in the organisation's best interests as a continuing trading entity.

Looking at Assets

Family law dictates that all assets can be considered when trying to determine "who gets what" during a divorce. The law requires that all assets and liabilities are first identified and then given value and this applies to both people involved. If the matter goes in front of a court, they will also want to determine how each party contributed to the overall association from a financial and non-financial point of view. They'll also take into account the future needs of the individuals and whether that should affect how any assets are divided.

Getting a True Valuation

As far as the business is concerned specifically, you may need to bring in an independent expert to provide a valuation. Its value may not be the same as if you were to simply put the company up for sale on the open market, but it will be adjusted to take into account the current situation. If the valuation is obtained, it can provide options for both parties, such as one individual buying out the other one by purchasing any shares they may have in the limited company.

Making Adjustments Elsewhere

Perhaps you want to continue trading and would rather not sell the organisation to a third party. In this case, you may be able to make adjustments elsewhere to reflect how much perceived value you have in the business. One party may be able to transfer additional personal assets to the other, rather than having to split the business by selling it and approaching the matter that way.

Time for Advice

Divorce can be complicated at the best of times, but it can be even more challenging when there is a business involved. In this case, you are best advised to talk to a family lawyer and a business attorney so that you get the best possible advice.

For more information on family law, contact a professional near you.

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