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Dividing a business during a divorce

Divorce can always be complex, but for some business owners in Pennsylvania, the end of a marriage may come with additional challenges. Individuals and couples may own small or medium-sized businesses. In these cases, divorce can involve significant changes for their privately held companies, from changing ownership to seeking funds to buy out one of the spouses. In other cases, both spouses are dedicated to building the business even after their personal relationship comes to an end. There are several options that people may pursue to protect their company and finalize their divorce.

When one spouse wants to get out of the business while the other wants to stay in, both spouses may be able to manage this through the property division process. The spouse leaving the business might receive a larger amount of other marital property, such as real estate or retirement funds, in exchange for their share of the company. When both spouses want to stay involved, temporarily or permanently, they should consider whether they can productively work together moving forward. While this may be a recipe for conflict for some couples, others may find that they work better as business partners than romantic partners.

The spouses may still want to work out a distribution of the business as part of their divorce settlement, including establishing the percentage of the business that each spouse owns, especially if this is not specified elsewhere. They may want to create an option for one spouse to buy out the other in case of certain specified circumstances, called a buy-sell agreement.

Business owners may have specific concerns during their divorce, especially if they want to protect their company from its effects. A family law attorney may help a divorcing entrepreneur to settle property division and other issues.