While it is only a part of the divorce process, it seems like property division is the whole point of a divorce. Legally ending the marriage under the law is important for taxes, future relationships and a number of other issues, but separating the assets and liabilities incurred during a marriage is where many spouses set their focus.
More and more couples these days are running a family business as a marital team. It is something that is grown together, using both their time and shared resources. Under community property theory, a shared business that is deemed marital property leaves each partner with a 50/50 interest in it.
When it comes to simple stock in a company, it is easier to say that “you take 50 percent of the shares and I’ll take the other.” When it comes to something that you have literally put your blood, sweat and tears into building, it isn’t so easy to make a decision over how it should be divided. It isn’t just about the money anymore.
Dividing a small business in this day-and-age of economic strain could mean closing the doors for the business or a loss of a great deal of possible future profit for the spouse whose interest is bought out. So what do you do?
Some couples decided to end their intimate and emotional relationship but continue to work together in a professional relationship. While it is important to note that this is not an ideal or even feasible solution for some, it can really work for others who decide that it is what they want. A property agreement doesn’t always have to divide an asset so that each spouse walks away forever; it can include terms guiding spouses in a continued professional relationship.
Even for couples who get along, continuing to see one another on a daily basis at work is a challenge. In our next post we’ll cover some tips that help.
Source: The New York Times, “When Couples Divorce But Still Run A Business Together,” Bryan Borzykowski, Dec. 5, 2012