How do I divide the business in a divorce?

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How Do I Divide The Business In A Divorce

Many married couples are not just romantic partners, but business partners as well. You may have built a company from scratch together during the length of your marriage. However, now that your relationship is reaching its end, you’re worried about what to do with the business.

Couples who own a business and are considering divorce may struggle to find the right solution. However, there are a few possible options available, so you and your spouse can walk away satisfied.

Business valuation

The first step in splitting a business during divorce is determining how much the company is worth. You must know the overall value of your business so you can decide how to split the company between each of you.

There are three general ways to value your business: a market approach, an asset approach and an income approach. Each of these options focuses on a different aspect of your business. Working with an attorney or a financial advisor can help you pick the best strategy for your business.

Property division

Once you determine the value of your business, you and your spouse can discuss how to divide the company. There are a few options:

  • One spouse keeps the business. If you want to keep the business because you feel that you put too much time and effort into it to simply let it go, you can buy out your spouse by providing them with the determined value of the business. You can achieve this monetarily or even by offering up another similarly valued asset, such as a real estate property.
  • Both spouses keep the business. Perhaps you and your spouse make better business partners than you do a couple. If you believe you can successfully continue to manage your business in a civil partnership, it’s possible for you to keep the business as is.
  • You sell the business. Now that you know how much the company is worth, you can consider selling to a third-party buyer. Once the sale is complete, you and evenly split the proceeds with your spouse for a smooth division of property.

Making the right decision

Take your time to figure out what you want out of your business and your divorce. You’ve spent many years building your company, and neither of you might want that to go to waste.

Whether you decide to keep the business or sell it, it’s essential that you carefully discuss your options, so you both reach an amicable solution.


Michael Ritigstein is a Founding Partner of the firm concentrating his efforts in supporting the firm's litigation, corporate and estate matters. Mr. Ritigstein graduated from the University of Delaware in 1996 and Seton Hall University School of Law in 2000. In 2007 he received a Masters of Law in Taxation with a concentration in Estate Planning, from Temple University's Beasley School of Law.

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