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We understand that, just as no two relationships are the same, no two businesses are the same. We take the time to understand the circumstances unique to you, your family and the businesses involved.

Resolving the financial matters of any divorce or separation can be challenging, but those challenges are often amplified if you or your spouse or partner has an interest in a business.

There may be complex corporate structures to untangle, business models that transcend family generations, partnership agreements to understand or one of you may be an outright owner of a business. It may even be that you are business partners with your spouse or partner.

No matter what the structure or set up, we have the expertise and experience to guide you on how to deal with business assets on divorce or separation.

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Identifying business interests on divorce

In England and Wales, all business interests are likely to be relevant to the distribution of finances on divorce, with those established or developed within the marriage generally considered as matrimonial assets irrespective of who actually owns them.

We can help you to explore the full extent of business interests, including searching for company interests, mapping corporate structures and identifying who owns what.

Family businesses and divorce

If you or your spouse owns a family business with other relatives then there can be further complexity. The share of that business that belongs to you or your spouse is still likely to be considered a matrimonial asset. However, while the remaining shares will not be matrimonial it is often necessary to explore carefully how the business has been structured in terms of ownership and control to understand what resources have been available and to whom.

Valuation of business interests on divorce

Depending on the nature and complexity of the business interest, it can be very expensive to obtain a formal valuation for the purposes of divorce. In many cases, such a cost may be unavoidable to ensure matters are addressed appropriately.

However, it is worth obtaining legal advice prior to any process of valuing a business. This will ensure the valuation is done in the most appropriate manner and will avoid wasting time, money and effort on methods that may later offer little assistance or, worse still, may be detrimental by giving an unrealistic expectation of the value to one party.

We have the expertise to guide you through the issues that should be taken into consideration in exploring valuations and can ensure matters progress in the most appropriate and cost-effective manner.

Our approach

We have the experience to guide you in navigating issues around business interests on divorce or separation, balancing the legal, practical and commercial realities. Often it will be necessary to take a multi-disciplinary approach, involving experts in corporate law, accountants and other experts.

We have a wealth of experience in dealing with business assets on divorce and in conjunction with our other specialist teams and external contacts we can offer a service that considers all angles to achieve the best outcomes for you and your family.

This is a complex area, and we can offer specialist advice in guiding you through what is often a contentious issue, with a wealth of experience in resolving such matters out of court.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to business interests on divorce?

There are often a range of options available for dealing with business interests on divorce, but the most common include: leaving one of you as the sole business owner and compensating the other by way of the distribution of other assets or ongoing maintenance, splitting the business into separate entities, one party continuing the business but sharing income, or continuing the business as a joint enterprise in joint names.

You are likely to have your own unique circumstances that will dictate what is the best approach for you and your family.

Other key considerations will include any tax consequences and the ability to extract cash from the business while maintaining commercial viability.

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