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How to split a business when a marriage ends

Dividing assets may be challenging in a divorce case. However, if a married couple owned a business together, this could make the property division process even more complicated. While Georgia law may provide guidance, the parties to the divorce itself should take steps to ensure a smooth division of the family business.

The initial step is to determine how much the company is worth. Once that happens, a couple may decide that one spouse will retain ownership of the company. The partner who leaves will receive a cash buyout. If the buyout occurs as part of the divorce settlement, the funds will likely be tax-free.

In some cases, a former couple can work together to sell the company and split the proceeds from the sale. One disadvantage to this is that it could take a long time for a sale to close. Therefore, it delays the divorce and requires individuals to work together until the sale is finalized. If a former couple finds that they can work well together, it is possible to retain the status quo. This may be the ideal solution for those who have emotional or other ties to the business beyond the financial freedom it provides.

The valuation of business interests may be one of many variables that influences the terms of a final divorce settlement. An attorney could help an individual negotiate a favorable settlement through mediation or at a trial. Accountants, appraisers and other professionals might also assist in the process of determining how much a business is worth. If necessary, an individual could commission a private appraisal that can be used to refute the data provided by the other spouse.

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