Navigating the Thicket of Dividing a Family-Owned Business

Figuring out what happens to the family-owned business—especially when both spouses work in the business—can be one of the most difficult situations to navigate in divorce. First, you should know that it’s possible to prevent the loss of your business. Ultimately, you can navigate the thicket of dividing a family-owned business to keep it alive and well during and after the divorce. 

The Former Husband-and-Wife Team

This scenario is more common than you’d think. Often, both spouses can continue working in a family business even after divorce. The same principles that apply to parenting plans also apply here, in terms of being specific, detailed and creative with the divorce agreement.

For many owners of family businesses, their livelihood and lifestyle depend on the continued operation and survival of the business. Your attorney can help you craft agreements tailored specifically to that end. 

For example, clauses in the agreement can spell out who does what and when, so that there is no confusion in the future. This may mean agreeing to the roles each spouse did prior to the divorce—but committing to that on paper. Or, it may mean negotiating and shifting responsibilities. 

Either way, both owners/ex-spouses know exactly what they need to do to keep the business alive while minimizing the potential for strife and conflict. In other words, they can work together, without living together. 

Dividing a Family-Owned Business | Texas Divorce Attorney | iStock-1139899254
817-789-4436 – It’s possible to keep your family business going after divorce. To learn more about protecting your business, visit us today.

The Single-Spouse Business

Here, one spouse works in the family business and the other works in a separate role or profession or is a stay-at-home parent. In this case, it would seem as though a “fair split” might necessitate taking drastic measures, including selling capital assets (like livestock; this is Texas, after all). Although this does happen, there are ways around it.

The solution might come in the form of a creative spousal support agreement involving non-family business assets, like investment accounts, real estate or other property (stocks, bonds, 401(k)s, vacation homes, artwork, motorcycles, etc.). 

Let a Divorce Attorney Help You Create a Solution That Benefits Your Family

It’s possible to arrive at a win-win for all parties, from the spouses to the children and other family members who may have a stake in the family business. The key is to bring knowledge, experience, and creativity to the table. Let us do that for you. Call 817-789-4436 or send us a message to get started.