Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

Options for the family business in a divorce

For most people, divorce is incredibly complicated. If you have children, you will have to work out a custody arrangement. If you have a house, you might have to make some tough choices about what to do with it. And, if you have a family business, things can get even more complicated. One of the reasons why divorce is so complex for many people is that they have to balance a very emotional and stressful time with making practical decisions.

When there is a family business involved, it is vital to try to keep emotion out of your decision-making process as much as possible. One of the ways you can do that is by examining the various options for your Franklin business before you even sit down at the negotiating table. Here are a few options for the family business in a divorce.

One of you keeps it

In most divorces where a family business is involved, one spouse often ends up keeping it. Usually this happens through a buyout. For example, if you don't want to be tied to the business anymore, you can let your husband buy you out. You can do this through a cash buyout, an installment agreement or perhaps you will keep additional marital assets that equal your share of the company.

Both of you keep it

If you and your spouse are divorcing on at least semi-friendly terms, the two of you might be able to carry on running the company together. However, since many couples don't end their marriages under happy circumstances, this is not a very common arrangement.

Sell the business

If neither of you have strong emotional ties to the business, then you might be able to sell it and divide the proceeds. Doing this allows each of you to pursue independent interests, such as starting entirely new businesses or engaging in other investments.

If you have a family business and you are considering divorce, one of the above options might be right for you. However, no matter which one you choose, be sure you are basing your choice on what is best for your particular situation and will financially benefit you the most. When you are planning to divorce, it is vital that try to leave as much emotion out of the decision-making process as possible and approach the situation like a business transaction.

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Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator


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