Divorce and business ownership: what to expect

On Behalf of | Aug 19, 2022 | Family Law

Unless you and your spouse were only married a very short time before filing for divorce (or if you have a prenuptial agreement), you will have to deal with property division. This can be a delicate and complex process, especially if you, your spouse, or both of you own a business.

Getting divorced as a Philadelphia business owner

Like any other valuable piece of property, the first step is determining whether the business is marital property. In general, anything acquired during the marriage is a marital asset that belongs to both spouses, even if only one spouse directly purchased or earned the asset. The theory is that both spouses contributed to the circumstances that allowed that acquisition to happen.

Before you and your ex can decide what to do with the business, you have to know what it is worth. A business valuation from an expert can give you a current and accurate dollar figure for everything included in the company, including its intellectual property and real estate.

One option for dividing a business is to sell it at fair market value and split the proceeds. But most business owners want to stay in operation, and if they have partners, the business succession plan could complicate things further. Another option is to buy out your spouse’s share. You can do this with a lump sum payment or with some other benefit, such as spousal support. Finally, some couples are able to work together and continue co-owning a small business after divorce.

Your resolution to the problem of a business that is a marital asset should fit your goals and financial requirements. That way, you can remain financially healthy as you start the next phase of your life.