Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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When divorce means splitting the family business

The end of a marriage in Massachusetts means that the property and assets acquired during the marriage will need to be divided up. Property division during a divorce can be very complicated. As emotions run high divorcing individuals often commit costly mistakes. This is especially so when ending a marriage also means splitting up the family business. Recently a columnist on a national news site gave some helpful tips that can help people in this situation through the property division process.

In dividing the family business, the first rule for divorcing spouses is to learn to compromise. It is important to remember that the company's reputation can suffer when a business is divided up during a divorce. Yielding to one's emotions will not help. Divorcing spouses who are business partners need to take a businesslike approach to the dissolution of their business.

A critical step is finding an independent appraiser to prevent disputes. When a divorcing couple jointly owns a company, they often hire their own appraisers for valuation of the business. This can lead to disputes, which can drag out the process. Independent appraisers can give divorcing individuals an unbiased picture of the assets that they are dealing with.

In dealing with a business division both spouses will have to consider new roles. Divorce may end the marriage, but it does not necessarily mean the end of the professional relationship. Some divorced couples end up continuing to work with one another once their marriage has ended. In other cases one ex-spouse steps away from their position to ensure that the company continues operating. What is best will vary on a case by case basis.

Source: Huffingtonpost.com, "Love is risky business: 5 tips to legally protect your company & assets," Lisa Honey, Feb. 11, 2014

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