What will happen to my business in a divorce?

Divorce can be emotionally draining for everyone concerned. However, it can be even worse when a business is involved, and has the potential to be financially draining as well, not just for the couple seeking a divorce, but for many other people too.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, any business interests that one of the spouses has can usually be taken into account during the divorce. However, whilst this sounds scary, in reality what often happens is that the court aims to leave the business owner with their business untouched, and as a result will compensate the other spouse by say giving them a greater share of other assets, such as the martial home, money in the bank or cars. Whilst the courts prefer not to leave one spouse with all the cash and the other spouse with all the assets that are tied up, quite often that is the most practical and sensible outcome for all concerned, and quite often what the divorcing spouses want themselves. Rest assured it is unusual for a business to have to be sold because of the divorce settlement. The more that divorcing couples can agree on in advance, the less complicated and less costly the divorce process is likely to be for them.

If either or both of the spouses own a business outright or significant shares in a business then that business may have to be valued for the financial settlement. On some occasions, one spouse does not agree with the valuation of the business, often because they believe the other spouse has not been upfront and honest about all of their assets and that the business should therefore be worth more.

There are steps that you can take to protect your business that you might want to consider. Top of the list are pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements, to limit the claim that might be made against your business. Pre-nuptial agreements are entered into before marriage, whilst post-nuptial agreements are entered into after marriage. Both are a key tool in asset protection. If you have a business and are planning to get married, or are planning to set up a business, then speak to an experienced solicitor about wealth and asset protection.

Because of the potentially complicated nature of businesses being included in divorce settlements, it is very important that you seek the help of an experienced solicitor at the earliest possible stage. Sills & Betteridge Solicitors have experienced family law teams available across Lincolnshire and Central England who are able to deal with every aspect of divorce and separation. Our family law department is one of the largest and most successful in the country and we are committed to offering you a service which minimises the emotional and financial impact upon you, and put your interests and those of your family first. For more information, please contact us on 0800 542 4245, email us on info@sillslegal.co.uk or call in to one of our offices.

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