For many divorcing couples facing property division, the marital home represents the largest single asset.
However, if you and your spouse are co-owners in a family business, the focal point shifts. What will become of this important asset as the result of your divorce?
Purchase co-owner interest
You may have years of sweat equity built up in the family business while the contribution of your spouse has primarily been financial in nature. You could offer to initiate a buyout, thereby becoming the sole owner. First, you will have to hire an appraiser to perform a valuation, so you know the worth of the business and the price to offer. If accumulating the funds for the buyout is a problem, consider an exchange of assets of similar value.
Put the business up for sale
Perhaps you and your spouse would rather put the business on the market. Once again, you will need a valuation. Keep in mind that if the business does not sell in the near term you might have to go on working with your soon-to-be-ex longer than you anticipated.
Continue as co-owners
The least complicated option is for you and your spouse to continue as co-owners. There would be no need for the expense of valuation, and you would retain your respective shares of the company. This is not a workable option for everyone. However, if the two of you are facing a mostly amicable divorce and you believe you could continue working together in a post-divorce world, going forward as co-owners may be the best solution regarding the fate of your business.