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Should divorcing couples sell their business?

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2019 | Divorce |

Dividing up marital assets in a divorce can become more complicated if the spouses own and manage a business. North Carolina business owners who are married face a number of options when they decide to end their marriage. Some are content to keep running the business together, or one spouse may surrender ownership interest in the business to the other spouse. However, some spouses decide it is better to just sell the business outright.

According to Forbes, selling a business is attractive to some couples because it allows a clean break from each other. Once the business is sold, the spouses can do with the proceeds as they wish. Some spouses decide to start a new business from scratch or buy an existing business, or after the drama of a divorce and the hard work of running a business, some spouses elect to retire and live off the profits from the sale.

However, trying to sell a business may not come easy. While some owners sell a business in a fairly short period of time, this is not the case for everyone. There are any number of issues that may delay a sale. The actual physical property of the business may need improvement. The local economy might be weak at the moment. The industry the business is a part of might not be desirable at the present time.

Waiting to find a buyer can also drag out the divorce process. You have to continue to deal with your spouse as it pertains to the business, so a break from your spouse may not come as quickly as you had hoped. You might have to continue to work with your spouse to manage the business, or if this is not possible, one spouse may have to take greater managerial control until the business is sold. These decisions can be hard to reach and may be contentious.

Selling a business is not the only option, and as the Forbes piece points out, it is actually not the most common outcome for divorcing business owners. Usually, one spouse buys out the ownership interest of the other. This option, while widely used, can also create tax liabilities if the sale is not structured carefully enough. Since divorcing couples have different priorities, do not consider this informational article to provide any legal advice for your situation.