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Handling a business in a divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2021 | Blog, Family Law |

Divorces can be complicated in Oklahoma when married couples have built considerable wealth together, and one of the most complicated issues is division of property when a divorcing couple owns a business together. There are instances where a business is excluded in a prenuptial agreement, but businesses that began during a marriage rarely fall into this category. The time, energy and finances put into the operation are typically marital property, and the income and valuation of the business are essential in arriving at an equitable settlement for each divorcing spouse. The reality is that many businesses will continue to be operated by one of the spouses, and there may be complications while the divorce is still in limbo or going through a mediation process.

Business buyout

The first option when facing a divorce that will include a business as marital property is buying off one spouse. This option may be best for a small business, but married couples who own a very successful, high-income operation will want detailed valuation before finalizing any divorce agreement.

Selling the business

While business valuation is part of the equation in a buyout, it is absolutely central when selling the business. This is the best option in some cases, so Oklahoma divorce lawyers will typically advise that a professional financial valuation expert be retained to conduct a full evaluation. Both spouses should be in agreement on this selection when a sellout is the desired result, which can be part of the mediated divorce agreement. However, each partner can retain private evaluation expertise.

Continuing as a co-owner

When it comes time for the separation, continuing to run the business is sometimes the smartest decision. This is especially true in amiable divorces when both spouses will benefit from the arrangement. Ownership and operations should be structured through mediation, and definitive control of assets and liabilities should be stated in detail.

While some Oklahoma residents may want to file for divorce without legal counsel, this is flawed thinking when a business is involved. Entrepreneurs should retain attorneys who are experienced in divorces where business ownership is at stake.