Once your spouse has become a business partner, it's too late to change that decision. However, it's typically best to keep the personal and professional areas of your life separate. If you have already partnered with your spouse in life and in business, you may pay a heavy price in the divorce. Be sure to see a business law attorney and consider these three options for separating with your spouse as your business partner.
Option #1: Sell Your Company & Divide Your Business Assets
This may be a last resort if you cannot come to any sort of agreement with your soon-to-be ex. On the other hand, it may be your first option. It can sometimes be too painful to continue with a business if it was a passion project shared between you and your spouse. If you don't want to keep the business, the best move to make is selling your company and dividing the sales profits that you get from it.
Option #2: Use Personal Assets to Buy Out Your Spouse's Business Interest
Although it is generally ideal to keep your business and personal finances separate for your own well-being, one time where you may need to use your personal assets for a business reason is simple. Buying out your spouse's interest in your business during a divorce can empower you to be in charge of your company without worrying about future interference from your spouse. You may use your share of real estate profits, retirements funds, savings accounts, or stock to buy your spouse out of the business.
Option #3: Pay Off Your Spouse Over Time with a Payment Agreement
Instead of giving your spouse a lump-sum payment for their share in the business, your lawyers may work out a structured settlement. A property settlement note can help you hang on to your company if you wish to do so. It does this by enabling you to pay your spouse off for their part in the company in monthly payments. This long-term payout does typically require you to pay interest on the funds, too, so that should be taken into consideration.
Finally, keep in mind that things can sometimes get as messy during a feud over business as it gets over the personal issues that led to an end of the marriage. Be sure to see a business law attorney if you have a company and are thinking about separating from your spouse, so that you can be sure that you are acting in a way that protects your best interests throughout the divorce process.