Small businesses are among the most common type of business in the United States. Many of them are family businesses, and many are run by spouses. They may have different roles, or they may effectively split the duties equally between them. But, either way, a couple’s business is often their source of income and something that they both have worked hard to create together.
As a result, divorce can get very complicated for small business owners who operate their companies with their spouses. One of the most common tactics is to sell an affected business, since it is a marital asset. Selling it transforms it into a financial asset, and the couple can then split its value in accordance with state law.
Of course, this may not be preferable to many business owners. They don’t want to lose their source of income. They don’t want to lose a business that they’ve been building from the ground up for years or decades. If you are a small business owner and are going to be divorcing your co-owner spouse, do you have any other options besides selling?
You can keep running it together
One potential option is that you could simply keep running the business jointly. You don’t have to sell. Neither person has to leave the business. You don’t have to be married to continue working as business partners. You can just divide all of your other marital assets and continue on as co-workers, perhaps with new contractual protections in place that explicitly outline your rights and interests in the enterprise.
Naturally, you’ll have to decide if you and your ex are in the right mental and emotional state to do this. Many couples can’t imagine working together after divorce. But your divorce might be amicable, in which case you won’t have to change anything at the business just because your marriage is ending.
One person could sell their share
Another option is that one person could sell their half of the business to the other. Maybe your ex is willing to move onto another stage in their career. You could take out a business loan or use other marital assets to buy their share, and then you could continue to run the business on your own.
Exploring these and additional options
Addressing the complexities of a family-owned business during divorce is not a straightforward process and deserves a lot of thought. Working with an experienced legal professional to evaluate these and all of your other options is going to be a wise decision as you move forward with the divorce process.