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Co-running a business can complicate divorce asset division

People in the business world in St. Charles, Missouri, and beyond, know how emotions during a divorce can have a ripple effect on a business organization, especially if the divorcing couple owns the business. Spouses who have worked hard and invested so much in a business with sentimental value are bound to be upset if that business must be dismantled in a divorce settlement.

Several options exist to resolve this issue. The soon-to-be ex-spouses may sell the business and divide the proceeds, one spouse may buy the business shares of the other spouse or the spouses will live separately, but still co-own the business. Many would agree that the first two options are most preferable, because working together after divorce may not be practical.

However, as the story goes, one couple made it possible and more than practical. The couple met in law school, married and after eight years, divorced, surprising their co-workers at a law firm. After their split, the ex-husband continued to act as the head of the firm, but these two individuals did not let their divorce affect their work; they continued to work together to achieve their company's goals. They have worked with a coach to ensure that their employees are happy, too.

According to a 2007 U.S. Census Bureau estimate, husbands and wives co-own 3.7 million businesses across the country. Chances are that selling a co-owned business would be a financial disaster if it was the main source of household income. Selling business shares to the other spouse may seem ideal, but if the selling spouse is more competent to run the business, the business will suffer.

Co-running a business has emotional and financial implications, but if the spouses want to work with each other amicably and not let emotions take control, it is possible that a divorce will not close or dissolve a business.

Source: Stamford Advocate, "Businesses Can Survive Divorcing Co-Owners," Richard Lee, Dec. 13, 2013

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