When you and your spouse started the family business all those years ago, you probably never thought the day would come when ownership would become a problem. The “problem” is called divorce, and consequently, your business becomes an asset to be divided. If you are agonizing over how this will work, you can rely on help from professionals.
Continuing as owners
If you are working toward an amicable divorce, you might consider continuing in your co-ownership of the business. It would likely mean working closely together, and if you can do so in a civil, reasonable fashion, continuing to co-own the business may be your best option. The benefit is that neither of you would have to sell your part of the company, nor would you need to go to the expense of obtaining a valuation.
If you feel an amicable working relationship will not be possible, one of you could buy the other out. To do this, you will need to engage the services of an appraiser to establish a valuation. Since this can be very expensive, you might consider hiring just one appraiser, rather than one on behalf of each of you, and splitting the cost. Remember that whoever buys the other partner out will have to come up with the funds to do so. If that is not possible or agreeable, another option is for the buyer to take on most of the debts in the divorce action.
You and your spouse could also sell the house and split the profits. This option requires a valuation to produce an appropriate selling price. You hope that the business sells quickly, of course, but be prepared to work a little longer with your spouse if the sale takes a while.
Outside of the marital home and any other real property you might own, your business is probably your most valuable asset. If you and your spouse are vacillating about the fate of the company, you can seek help and support from professionals, such as a CPA, a financial advisor and an attorney. When it comes to ending your marriage and starting a new chapter in your life, you have a lot to think about. You do not want the family business to become a problem you cannot work out.