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The options to consider when divorce affects a family business

| Apr 16, 2021 | Divorce |

The family-owned business is in jeopardy. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has set it back a bit, your company continues to hold its own and is ready to emerge with just a few bruises. Financially, it is fine. However, the cause of this predicament is your marriage, which is in limbo. You and your spouse who have together owned and operated the business for years are pursuing a divorce.

The fate of your business hangs in the balance. Will you have to say goodbye to a successful small business for which the two of you have invested a great amount of time and money? That remains among the potential options. Or do you want to keep the business, running in a different way?

Continuing to work together or selling

How awkward would you feel continuing to work alongside your former spouse? How sad would you feel if you sell the business? Explore every available option. Although your marriage did not work out, the business seems to still be working well.

Here are some options to consider:

  • Continue working together as partners and co-owners: Can ex-wedded partners continue to be good business partners? Only you can answer that. Pursue this option only if you think it is realistic. It could work as long as the two of you remain on amicable terms. However, it is a good idea to ensure that the shareholder agreement covers specifics as to whether either spouse may buy out the other and at what price.
  • Purchase the business from your former spouse: In some ways, you are going back to square one with this move because you likely will be taking on more debt by exploring bank loans while also seeking potential investors or taking on a new business partner.
  • Sell the business: Maybe there are just too many memories, you are burned out or you receive such an attractive offer that it makes sense to sell. Any of these can steer you toward a sale that allows you and your former spouse to divide the proceeds. As an entrepreneur at heart, a sale may provide you with the financing to start your next business.

Make sure you come up with a plan that satisfies both of you. Even a plan that puts a slight smile to your lips is worth pursuing.