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You can’t save your marriage, but you can save the business

Not all divorce proceedings involve courtroom battles where spouses fight over every little thing. Some couples understand that things change, they have grown apart, or are no longer compatible and they amicably agree that they have a chance at a better long-term relationship if they end the marriage. This is ideal if the couple owns a business together.

If you and your wife have decided that the marriage is not working, but you are both committed to the business the two of you built together, you may be able to save the company from your divorce. Even if your divorce turns contentious, there are steps you can take to ensure the business survives. An experienced divorce attorney in the Arlington area can help you develop a strategy that not only protects the family business, but also helps you avoid an economic hardship due to the divorce. Read further to find out more about how you can protect your company.

Business structure

The structure of your business can make a major difference if you and your spouse are co-owners. If you and your wife are divorcing on good terms, it is very possible that the two of you can continue to operate the business together. However, in situations where there is disagreement over the terms of the divorce, this may be more difficult.

Regardless of whether the two of you agree about all the terms of the divorce or if there is contention, you should have a shareholder agreement in place. The agreement should stipulate that each of you has the right to buy out the other at a reasonable price.

Determining value

If you or your spouse choose the buyout option, you will have to determine the value of the company. A professional adjustor will examine the past financial statements of the business along with projected future earnings in order to assign a value to the company. The process for this can often be complicated and expensive.


If you choose to proceed with a buyout, there are several options to choose from. If you have enough capital on hand to make a flat buyout, that will be, by far, the easiest way. Another option is to borrow from the bank to pay your wife for her share of the company. If you already have more debt than you prefer and lack the capital to pay a lump sum, you and your spouse can structure an installment agreement. With this strategy, your wife would essentially be financing your purchase. You would have to make monthly payments, including interest, until you pay off the loan.

If you are considering divorce and you and your wife own a business, there are strategies you can employee to ensure the company survives. Whether you expect an easy divorce or a long negotiation process, legal guidance will be instrumental.

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