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When you and your divorcing spouse operate a business together

Many small businesses are also family businesses, owned by a couple who shared the same dream and tried to make it a reality. Regardless of how the business does, things can become very complicated if the marriage between the owner breaks down. Suddenly you have two business partners who are ending a very personal relationship and trying to decide what that means for them professionally.

To get an idea of what this looks like, here are a few businesses that couples often own together:

  • Home cleaning services
  • Restaurants, food trucks and catering services
  • Online retail companies
  • Gyms or fitness instruction companies
  • Landscaping companies and consulting firms
  • Pet-sitting businesses or pet boarding houses
  • House flipping companies -- perhaps with one person doing the manual labor and the other doing the design
  • Blogging, vlogging or other online content creation companies

The classic "mom and pop" business is probably the local restaurant or deli. One person may be the head chef, while the other is an assistant and also takes care of the administrative duties.

Many of these businesses can't survive without both members of the couple doing their part, so the end of the marriage certainly puts the business in jeopardy. The couple usually has a lot of questions about who gets the company, what percentages they own, how much the company is worth, if they have to sell it, if they can work together even after their marriage ends and much more.

If you own a business with your spouse, it adds a new level of complexity to your divorce case. You don't want to lose your source of income and the business that you love. Working with an attorney who understands the challenges you face can help you make the best choices going forward.

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