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A family business can complicate property division

When a couple in Florida goes through a divorce, dividing marital wealth can be a complex matter. This is especially true in a case in which the couple owns a business. Having to divide the business interests and determine which party will retain which assets can make for a very complicated divorce process -- one that has the potential to affect the lives of employees and other partners, as well as the spouses themselves. Couples facing this set of property division circumstances have a few options when considering how to proceed.

One option is to continue running the business together, even as the marriage comes to an end. While this can be a solution that has minimal impact on the business itself, it is not a good fit for every couple. Co-owners must be able to work together to put business needs above their own personal needs, which can be a challenge during and immediately after a divorce.

Another option is for one spouse to buy out the other's share in the business. This can be a positive move for many couples, as it allows the retaining spouses to continue the work that the couples have built over the years. However, in order for this approach to be successful, the retaining spouses must have the resources to complete the transactions. In some cases this can be accomplished by ceding interest in other significant assets, such as the family homes or investment properties.

Finally, a Florida couple can choose to sell the business and divide the proceeds. This can be a heartbreaking scenario, as both parties will lose the business that they worked to establish. However, when there is no other option that provides a good fit, selling the family business is sometimes the only way to allow both spouses to complete the property division process and move forward in their lives.

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

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