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The Law Offices of W. Douglas McKeague The Law Offices of W. Douglas McKeague
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Divorce with a Family Business


When it comes to divorce, most people are concerned about one thing: how assets will be divided. Property and asset division can be extremely complex, especially when both spouses bring different value to the table. Matters become even more challenging when one or both spouses own a business.

Determining how to divide a family business in a divorce case is difficult. Businesses typically bring in a significant amount of income, making it a valuable asset. There may be conflict over which spouse should get to keep the business, or if a spouse should get some share in a divorce settlement. Even when only one spouse runs and owns the business, the court will likely view it as marital property.

Placing a Dollar Value on Your Business

One of the first, and most important steps you should take when handling a family business in a divorce case is to get a business valuation. What does this mean? You should get an independent appraisal of the business in order to get a fairly estimate of its value. This will help you avoid any confusion between you and your spouse and eliminates the risk of deception.

Once you have this estimate, you will be able to make the best judgment on moving forward with the family business. You may need to ask yourself if you are willing to fight for sole ownership, or if it is better to simply work together with your former spouse.

Here are some options you can consider with a family business:

  • Buy out the other spouse/sell your ownership for financial compensation
  • Separate different aspects of the business between yourselves and operate as you think is best
  • Remain in partnership with your former spouse, operative solely as business partners

Even if you think your spouse intends to play nice, it is crucial that you get an attorney on your side for any divorce involving a business. You could have your ownership swept out from under you without even realizing it! Similarly, even if you do not own the business, you may have provided great support to your spouse over the years and helped lead the business to success. Either way, it is in your best interest to retain counsel on how to secure the fair resolution you deserve.

Contact our Orange County divorce lawyer if you would like to discuss your case!

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