Keeping a Family Business Going During a North County Divorce

Pierre Domercq Professional Practice & Business Ownership

Changes in the economy over the past decade have led to the creation of many new small businesses. It is not uncommon for one or both of the former spouses to be involved in a closely-held business or LLC. What happens to this business in a divorce action? How can the company survive a divorce between co-owners or its sole owner?
Business ownership can complicate a North County or Carlsbad divorce resulting in the need for valuation and/or appraisal and the subsequent negotiations or litigation over the community property interest in that business. It doesn’t have to be that way.
If both parties are actively involved in the business and earn their living from this work it may be possible to simply continue the business without the need to go through valuation or appraisal. This will require former spouses to work cooperatively through the divorce itself, and demonstrate the ability to work in close proximity after the divorce is completed.
The next option is for one of the former spouses to buy out the community interest of the other. This will require a comprehensive valuation. Some aggressive interests will attempt to low-ball the value of the company in an attempt to buy out the community property interest for an amount that is much lower than the actual value.
Be cautious – the Judge might reverse the tables on you and suggest (or order) that the interest be “sold” to your ex for the same value you or your attorney was claiming, in effect depriving you of fair value.
Another option is to sell the business and divide the proceeds.
The experienced divorce attorneys at Burke & Domercq have decades of expertise with business ownership interests in a divorce. We work with our clients to clearly understand their goals and objectives. We also work to preserve the integrity and operational viability of the business during the course of the divorce itself.