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Options for co-owned businesses during divorce

Dividing marital assets during a divorce does not have to be difficult, but the process can quickly become complicated when more significant assets are at stake. For instance, a business owned jointly by both spouses can seem intimidating to address during asset division. With careful attention to options and details, New York couples do not have to forego divorce out of concern for how it will affect the business.

Perhaps one of the easiest approaches to a co-owned business is for the ex-spouses to continue to operate it together. For individuals who can still work and cooperate well together after a divorce, remaining co-owners typically makes the most minimal impact on the business's bottom line. In addition, both parties can keep their own business interests without having to sell anything off, and no valuation is necessary.

A business must be valued if continuing to co-own is out of the question. A valuation is performed by a third-party business appraiser, and, as a means to save money, many spouses choose to split the cost of a single appraiser rather than hiring their own. Once the valuation is complete, there are essentially two options left. Either one party can purchase the other's portion of the business or the business can simply be sold outright.

Like any marital asset, a co-owned business must be addressed during asset division. Unlike typical marital assets, businesses do present the opportunities for divorcing couples to maintain joint ownership. However, in the instance that this is not an appropriate decision, there are still other options available to New York business owners who are going through divorce.

Source: Forbes, "How To Handle Divorce In A Family Business", Lora Murphy, March 7, 2016

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