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Divorce, property division and the fate of the family business

Over the course of a long marriage, you have no doubt acquired significant assets. Perhaps you have also built the most valuable asset: your family business.

As you face the property division phase of your divorce, you worry about the disposition of the business. Here are three options to consider.

Perform a buyout

If you are dedicated to the business but your spouse is not so emotionally attached, consider performing a buyout. If your spouse agrees, you could pay in a lump sum, or if the funds are unavailable, you could suggest a payment plan. You could also offer your spouse assets to match the value of the business. Keep in mind that any buyout plan must begin with the services of a professional appraiser who can perform a business valuation.

Put the business on the market

Another option is to sell the business outright. Once again, you will need a valuation to determine the appropriate selling price. After the sale, you and your spouse can split the profits. However, since you may not find a buyer right away, the two of you may have to work together longer than you anticipated.

Continue as equal partners

The least complicated option is for you and your soon-to-be ex to continue owning the business. You would each keep your respective interest in the company and there would be no need for an expensive valuation. Your attorney may caution that continuing as co-owners is not a road some divorcing couples can comfortably travel. However, if your parting is amicable and you believe you can go on working together after the divorce, this may be the best solution concerning the fate of your business.