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Protecting a business if divorce occurs

Family businesses can be helpful solutions to meeting household expenses, and in many cases, side businesses become primary sources of income for Virginia residents. However, it can be a challenge to deal with a family business during divorce, especially if both partners have contributed significantly to the success of the endeavor. When a business is predominantly operated and grown by just one spouse, however, there might be less of a probability of losing all or part of it in the process.

Planning is essential for the dominant business partner who is thinking about ending a marriage. Because the company's activity and value may be shared to some degree, the divorce becomes a business transaction of sorts. As such, it is important that an appropriate business valuation is made and that the business owner has a good understanding of both business and personal finances. Creating a divorce plan is comparable to developing a business plan, and the entrepreneur may want to identify points that can be negotiated as well as those in which compromise is not desired.

It is important to remove emotions as much as possible from the process to ensure that sensible compromises are made when necessary. In attempting to understand the other party's reasonable expectations, an entrepreneur can better plan to address these before they can become points of contention. It is helpful to recognize that a judge is not likely to give one's business to the other spouse if that party has had little or no involvement. However, it is realistic to expect that a share of the business would be given if the other party has played an important role in the company's success.

In doing research and pulling together financial details, it is important to find a good lawyer to handle the formal elements of the divorce proceedings. A lawyer with a team of supporting professionals such as accountants and others with a business background may be helpful for a divorce involving business concerns.

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Bowen Ten Cardani, PC

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