Although many divorces end family businesses: not all do

Calling it “the exception, not the rule,” one writer on marital dissolution noted in a recent article that a family owned business surviving a divorce is a relative rarity.

There are of course many reasons why a business managed by one or both spouses prior to a divorce does not often continue to thrive — must less exist — following a marital split.

For starters, many businesses become a central component in the division of a couple’s assets during the divorce process. In some instances, the trust and intimate collaboration required to run a family business no longer exists following a divorce. In select cases, flat-out and enduring rancor flatly prohibits a workable co-existence between former partners.

That is not always the case, though, and there are many interesting stories of ex-spouses who have managed to keep a business going.

A key ingredient required for that, says one commentator and researcher on the matter, is the ability of a divorced couple to effectively draw a line that separates their personal and working lives.

That isn’t done easily, which goes far toward explaining why the continued viability of couple-run businesses following divorce is generally elusive.

When a couple can keep things separate, though, the chance for continued business success goes up markedly. A term that has been applied to couples who can focus on business when that is what needs to be done is “copreneurs.”

As noted, businesses run by a couple prior to divorce in Georgia or elsewhere often loom large during divorce proceedings. A divorcing couple might wish to sell a business or continue to manage it following a divorce decree. In either case, a proven family law attorney with experience in business valuation, property division and related business matters can provide sound and timely guidance.

Source: NPR: “When divorce leads to a happily ever after for a small business,” Yuki Noguchi, April 17, 2014

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