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Strategies for dividing a business during divorce

On Behalf of | Oct 2, 2023 | High Asset Divorce

Divorce can be a challenging process, especially when you own a business. According to a study conducted by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, approximately 20% of divorces in the United States entail the division of a family-owned business.

It is important to approach this situation with careful consideration and practical strategies to ensure a fair and equitable outcome.

Valuation of the business

Before proceeding with any division, you must determine the value of the business. This step provides a clear understanding of the assets at stake.

Professional appraisers or financial experts can help assess the business’s worth based on factors such as revenue, assets and market conditions.

Buyout Agreements

One viable option is for one spouse to buy out the other’s share of the business. This involves a negotiated monetary settlement, allowing one party to assume sole ownership. This approach can be beneficial when one partner is more invested in the business’s success or has the necessary resources to buy out the other.

Co-ownership arrangements

For couples who can maintain a civil working relationship, co-ownership may be a possible solution. This arrangement allows both spouses to keep a share in the business and continue working together. Both spouses should establish clear roles, responsibilities and decision-making processes to prevent conflicts.

Splitting the business

In some cases, dividing the business itself may be the most practical solution. This can involve physically separating assets, such as establishing two independent branches or departments. This approach can be complex and requires careful planning to ensure both parties receive a fair part.

Revenue sharing agreements

If complete separation is not workable, implementing revenue-sharing agreements can be an effective compromise. This involves allocating a percentage of the business’s profits to each spouse, ensuring both continue to benefit from the business’s success.

Deferred compensation plans

Another option is to arrange a deferred compensation plan. This strategy allows one spouse to receive compensation over time, providing financial stability while still allowing the business to function without significant disruption.

Dividing a business during divorce is a sensitive and intricate process. By approaching it with a clear plan and open communication, couples can navigate this challenging situation and reach a fair resolution. Each situation is unique, and finding the right approach requires careful consideration of the business’s specific circumstances.


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