Whether you decided to file for divorce or got served when your spouse filed, it is natural to feel protective about your biggest assets when you consider the end of your marriage. As a Pennsylvania professional who has run a business with your family, the company that you own and operate may be your main priority in your upcoming divorce.
After all, your family business could represent years of financial investment and also your primary source of income. What will happen to your family business during your divorce proceedings?
You and your ex can make that decision
A surprising number of people don’t realize that they have the right to set the terms for their own divorces. Pennsylvania allows spouses to file uncontested divorces and provide the court with a pre-arranged settlement for the division of their property and also any custody matters that could affect their family.
You may be able to sit down with your ex and reach a mutually agreeable solution about what you plan to do with the family business. If your ex has served as a customer service professional or receptionist, they may recognize that their skills could earn them more competitive wages at an outside company. They may agree to let you keep the business, provided that they receive some of its value or perhaps spousal support as they establish their new career.
Sometimes, a family business requires the work of both spouses to stay open. You might agree that the best solution is to sell the business and split the proceeds. If you can keep your relationship amicable, it may even be possible for you to continue working at the company together and put an agreement in place about how you will address conflicts about running the business after your divorce.
What if you have to go to court?
You may not be able to reach an agreement about how to handle the family business in your divorce.
If you cannot reach an amicable and mutually agreeable settlement, then a family law judge will make decisions about what happens to your business and the rest of your marital property. Equitable distribution rules give both spouses an interest in the business, although a judge can divide what a business is worth without splitting the actual company.
Identifying your most valuable asset can help you set appropriate priorities for your upcoming Pennsylvania divorce.