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What happens when company co-owners get a complex asset divorce?

It is common for Minnesota spouses to share everything in marriage. In some cases, that means the family business as well. Spouses frequently go into business together, jointly creating a company that they grow and evolve together. It is generally a great way for two people who work well together to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

Owning a business with a spouse can be troublesome, however, if the spouses decide to get a divorce. Often, these divorces fall under the category of high-asset divorce, both due to the value of the marital assets and the complexity of the property that must be divided.

Dividing a business is never easy. Primarily, spouses must decide whether they will continue to work together, or whether it would be best for one spouse to leave the company and move on.

Spouses should consider each person's role in the company when they make this decision. It may be that each spouse brings something unique and irreplaceable to the company; in this situation, spouses may prefer to continue their professional relationship for the good of the business. If one spouse can be replaced with another employee, however, it may be simpler to have the spouse exit the company.

There are many solutions co-owners can reach when they are considering their roles in the company. The couple will have to determine which one is best for them. A skilled attorney can explain the legal ramifications of each option, helping spouses reach the most advantageous possible result. Other professionals can also provide assistance: a mediator with a financial background can help resolve some of the business-related issues, and divorce counselors can assist spouses with the emotional aspects of the divorce.

Source:, "If You Run a Company Together, What Happens When You Divorce?" Kate Tayler, Feb. 25, 2014

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