How is Divorce Different if My Spouse is Also a Business Partner?

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Splitting up property during a divorce is always tricky, but this process can get a bit more complicated when there is a company involved. If your spouse is also your business partner, you are going to need some help navigating this. Our Bergen County, NJ property division attorneys are ready to assist you.

Is a Business Separate or Marital Property?

If one of you owned and operated a business before you got married, then it will probably continue to belong solely to the spouse who owned it. The same can be true of a business that was passed down to one spouse from a family member. In most cases, these businesses would be considered separate property and not marital assets.

However, if your spouse is a business partner your company is likely to be considered marital property. That means that it is an asset that is going to have to be split up and equitably distributed just like any other property in a divorce. You will have to come to an agreement about what to do with the business you operate, and other parts of your property distribution agreement could be affected by what you ultimately decide to do with this company.

Can We Sell Off the Business?

Selling off the business is an option that some couples consider. This is an especially wise option if the business has grown and been a good investment for both of you. You can take the profits, split them evenly, and be done with this part of your divorce negotiations.

However, it is not always a good time to sell a business. You should carefully consider what is going on in the industry, if your business is poised to grow even more, and whether or not this is a good time to sell. There is no good reason to throw away a good asset just because you want to rush through divorce proceedings.

Can One or Both Spouses Continue to Run the Company?

If you decide that selling is not the best option, one or both spouses can continue to run the company. Some common solutions include:

  • One person sells their stake to their former spouse and other stakeholders in the company, stepping back completely
  • One spouse keeps their stake but becomes a silent partner who lets their former spouse run the company
  • Both spouses continue to work together and operate the business

Which option will work best for you and your former spouse will likely depend on a variety of factors.

Talk to Our Seasoned Divorce Lawyers

If you want to make sure that you are fairly treated when marital assets like your business are distributed, you need a strong advocate by your side. Contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark and schedule a consultation with our legal team. We are ready to tell you more about how we can be of assistance.

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