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Divorce and co-owning a business

California couples who have a prenuptial agreement may have made an arrangement to protect the business they own together in case of divorce. However, for divorcing couples who have not created a prenuptial agreement or a buyout agreement, it might be necessary to negotiate what becomes of the business.

Selling the business and splitting the profits might seem like the easiest solution, and for couples who do not want any further contact with one another, it may end all financial ties. However, this may be more complicated and time-consuming than it appears. First, the business has to be valued. Then, if the market is a tough one for that particular business, it may take some time to sell it.

One person may want to buy out the other if their assets are not tied up in the business. However, one individual might need to take out a loan to do so. A property settlement note may be another possibility. This allows one person to pay the other, with interest, over a long period of time.

Some couples may decide to continue running the business together if their relationship remains fairly amicable. These couples might want to draw up a shareholder agreement that deals with one person buying out the other.

California is a community property state, and this means that a judge's approach might be to divide all marital property equally, including a business. However, dividing a business 50/50 might not be practical, and there may be other solutions. Couples might also want to negotiate the division of property between themselves with the help of their respective attorneys rather than going to court. This may allow them to seek more creative solutions that better suit both of them rather than a decision that a judge might hand down.

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