Navigating Property Division

Navigating property division with a shared business

Figuring out who gets which assets in a divorce is rarely easy, but for some couples it can get even more complicated. This is certainly the case for couples who share a business. Alberta couples with a family business or businesses can add many complexities to the property division process. Many consider shutting down or selling the business to be the only resolution, while others seek alternative options.

Shared businesses are often the most valuable asset in a divorce, and can therefore be the most contentious. Depending on the setup of the business or the state of the couple’s professional relationship, it may be possible to continue running it effectively. However, a clear code of conduct and restructuring to avoid direct contact between the exes can help make this smoother to navigate.

Often, the spouse who is more active in the business will choose to buy the other’s interest in the company. The availability of this option is highly dependent on the company’s value and tax flow, so coming into negotiations with a clear picture of both can ease the discussions. Understanding the role each party plays in the business on a day-to-day basis is also important when weighing property division options.

As with any valuable asset, there is a possibility that some divorcing couples may make decisions out of spite or anger when it comes to the business. Bringing in a third party with no emotions involved in the issue can sometimes help to bring balance and clarity to these discussions. Each side should work with an Alberta lawyer who specializes in family law and property division to guide these critical discussions.

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