Many family businesses are owned by married couples. In some cases, one spouse had already started the business, and then they got married and began working with their new spouse. In other cases, the marriage came first, and a couple started a business as a source of income for their new family.
Many marriages in the United States end in divorce. If a couple decides to split up when they own a business together, does that mean that the business has to close its doors?
Selling the business is an option
What often happens is that a couple will decide to sell the business. Either they will find a third party who wants to buy it, or they will sell off the assets to interested parties and close the business. Either way, the goal is to convert all of their business assets into financial assets, which they can then divide as they get divorced.
Selling half of the business
Another option is for one partner to sell their half of the business to the other. This solution could be beneficial if one spouse doesn’t want to lose their source of income and wants to keep running the company. They don’t want the end of the marriage to mean the end of their professional career. They may buy their spouse’s share and keep the company as their marriage ends in exchange for comparable, alternative assets.
Continuing to work together
That being said, couples do have another option, which is simply to remain joint owners at their business. They don’t have to sell it. They don’t have to divide it. They can simply get divorced and split up the other assets that they own, along with the time with their children, and then continue working together in a professional relationship. For some couples who are going through an amicable divorce, this is possible.
Considering your options
These are the three main options that you have if you and your spouse are going to get divorced and you are joint business owners. Make sure that you are well aware of all the legal steps you need to take to help the process go smoothly. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.