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3 options for the fate of the family business in a divorce

When you and your spouse started your business, you probably gave little thought, if any, as to when and how it might end. Now you and your spouse have decided to divorce. Is this the end of the story for your business, too?

Your company is likely to be the single most important item in the property division phase of your divorce proceedings. Make sure you understand the options, what is fair and what is not, and give careful consideration to the ultimate fate of your family business. Here are three solutions to consider.

Offer your share to your spouse

Perhaps you are not as invested in the family business as you once were. You realize that your spouse is the driving force behind its success and wants to stay involved. When it comes to the property division phase of your divorce, you can give your soon-to-be-ex the option of buying you out. First, a business appraiser will have to provide a valuation. This can be expensive, so you and your spouse may want to split the cost and have one appraiser who will work for the two of you. Once the appraiser assigns a value, your spouse will have to come up with the funds to purchase your share. Alternatively, you could agree to take other marital assets in lieu of money.

Put the business on the market

You and your spouse could agree to put the business up for sale and split the profit. Once again you will need to hire a business appraiser so that you can develop a fair asking price. Keep in mind that if the company does not sell right away, the two of you may have to work together for a while longer.

Continue your co-ownership

If you are expecting an amicable divorce, you might consider keeping the business and continuing your co-ownership. You would not need a valuation in this instance, and you would both maintain your separate interests in the company. As long as the two of you could continue to have a good working relationship, keeping the business may be the ideal solution.

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