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3 options for guiding a business through property division

No aspect of divorce is pleasant, but most couples especially dread having to divide their assets.

For example, if you and your spouse own a business together, what will happen to it? Here are three options to think about when your company becomes the focus of property division.

1. Put the business up for sale

The most obvious choice is to put your company on the market. You must first engage the services of a professional to perform a valuation so that you know how much the company is worth and how much you can reasonably ask. If the business is well-known locally and has a good customer base, it may sell quickly. However, it might stay on the market longer than you anticipate, which means that you and your spouse may have to work together for a few more weeks or months. Can you do that?

2. Sell to your spouseā€”or vice versa

One of you may be more invested in the company than the other. For instance, perhaps your spouse takes care of the day-to-day operations, the inventorying, the interaction with customers and so on, while you handle the bookkeeping responsibilities. You could work as a bookkeeper anywhere, or perhaps this divorce presents the perfect opportunity for you to retire. You may, therefore, decide to sell your share of the business to your soon-to-be ex, but again, you will need a valuation so that you know how much your share is worth.

Keep in mind that in this scenario, your spouse will have to come up with the funds to buy you out. If money is tight, the two of you might work out an even trade involving another asset.

3. Keep going as co-owners

If selling out does not appeal to either of you, how about continuing as co-owners of the business? You would not have to go to the expense of hiring someone to perform a valuation and you would each continue to own your share of the company.

Selling a family business in a divorce can be a very emotional undertaking. If yours is an amicable divorce, and if the two of you feel you can still get along as co-owners, keeping the family business may be the perfect solution come property division time.

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