You and your spouse are more than just a married couple. You are also the co-owners of a family business that you have owned and operated for 15 years. This is your main source of income, for both of you, and the largest asset that you own.
Now that marriage is ending. You or your spouse has brought up divorce. Putting all questions about other assets or children aside, what should you do with that business? What is the easiest option from a financial standpoint?
Can you work together?
Overall, the most straightforward financial option is to refrain from selling or dividing the company at all. Splitting the value generally means selling the company to an outsider or taking out a loan to buy out your spouse. Both can get complicated and may not give you the future that you want.
But, if you don’t do that, what do you do with the company?
Nothing at all. You just keep running it. You remain co-owners and coworkers. You work together in a professional sense, even though your romantic relationship is ending.
If that sounds easy, you may be a good candidate for it. That means you can set your personal feelings aside and remember that the two of you need each other to keep earning money. Most co-owners are not married. You can certainly make that work, even if you always thought of the company as a “family” business.
If you think it sounds too difficult, though, that’s understandable. With all of the emotional baggage of a divorce, there are many couples who essentially never want to see each other again. They certainly do not want to work together every day. And you certainly don’t have to. But, if you can’t, that means you’re going to have to find some other solution, such as selling the company or at least selling your share.
As you think about the future of your company and your relationship, you really do need to consider all of your legal options. There may be far more than you’d assume, and they all are worth considering. Remember that the decisions you make now are going to have a drastic impact on your future.