You and your spouse are more than just partners in marriage. You’re also business partners. You started the company 20 years ago, just two years after you got married.
Over the years, you’ve worked hard to grow the company to the point that it now provides a very comfortable income for both of you. You’re proud of what you’ve accomplished.
Your marriage, though, hasn’t been as solid as your company. You’re moving toward a divorce. Now you’re worried that you’re going to lose the company. You don’t want to, but it’s very complicated to split up your assets when your main asset is a jointly-owned business. This is much different than just dividing up bank accounts and selling the house.
Thinking that you’re alone? Experts note that this is actually a fairly common problem. The divorce rate is high, and there are around 3.7 million businesses in the United States that married couples own together. If half of those couples will eventually divorce, that’s 1.85 million businesses that could be impacted.
The way you approach it is up to you. Some couples sell the company. Others sell out their shares, essentially turning the company over to one person. Still others continue to work together, knowing that there is value in that business relationship even when the romantic relationship did not last.
Every situation is different, but the key is simply to know all of your legal rights and the options you have. This is complex and it can be difficult. With the right information, though, you can make the best choice for your marriage and your company.
Source: NY Times, “When Couples Divorce but Still Run a Business Together,” Bryan Borzykowski, accessed Oct. 18, 2017