Securing Business Assets after Divorce

05 January 2017

When a couple is going through a divorce, one of the most difficult issues can be dividing the matrimonial assets. Often this involves a consideration of business assets, along with other assets such as property, pensions and investments.

When deciding what happens to business assets after a divorce, there are a number of points to think about. Our Family Law & Divorce Solicitors can advise on your particular circumstances in order to achieve the best outcome for you.

Business assets can range from being a sole trader to owning shares in a limited company. If you are in this position and are facing a divorce, there are complex considerations which require expert legal advice.

The couple getting a divorce will need to decide whether the business has any intrinsic value or whether it is an income generating asset. Often this will require a valuation report to be prepared.

However, it is important to note that this can have a knock-on effect if one person wishes to retain the business. For example, it can affect the division of other assets such as the matrimonial home. It could also affect the level of maintenance that is appropriate to be paid to the other person.

Sometimes business assets will be the source of disputes during divorce. For instance, there may be a dispute as to whether one persons’ business should be considered as part of the matrimonial finances at all, especially if it is a short marriage and the business was owned before the relationship started.

Or if the couple getting a divorce are both shareholders in the business together with third parties, there may be a dispute over who should retain the company. There may be a problem with the other shareholders agreeing to one person purchasing the other’s shares, especially if the result of this is that they then hold a majority shareholding. In such instances a careful consideration of the Shareholders Agreement and Articles of Association will be necessary.

The business may have liquid capital, or it may contain very little, and this can affect whether funds can be raised within the business to purchase the other persons’ interest.

If one person is employed by the business, there are also additional issues such as whether they have Employment Rights and the tax consequences of no longer receiving an income through the business.

Our team of Family Law & Divorce Solicitors have extensive experience of securing business assets in divorce, and can advise you on all the complexities of your individual situation.

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