You and your spouse started your business together five years after you got married. It seemed like the right time to do it, your marriage was going really well and you knew that you both offered something that the business needed. Your spouse is great with numbers and finances, while you are the people-person who really puts on the public face of the business.
As a result, your company has grown and done well. The same is not true for your marriage. You started thinking about divorce last year, and now you want to file.
But what should you do with the company? Buy out your spouse's ownership? Sell yours to them? Sell the company to someone else entirely and split up your earnings? Or keep it and run it together even after the divorce?
This last option is a tempting one if you don't want to reinvent your career and your income just because of a divorce, but it can be difficult. Here are some things to consider.
The upside here is that neither one of you faces unemployment. You keep the time and money you invested in the company. You don't have to go through the trouble of getting an appraisal and selling. Everything remains stable, the company sees the same success, and you both keep helping each other to make it run. After all, you are both critical to that success. Even if you felt willing to walk away or let your ex go, you can't be sure the business would thrive with just one of you.
The downside is clearly that you do not get a clean split with your ex. If there are hard feelings after the divorce, you still have to see each other every day. You have to work together and rely on one another. That's often too difficult, emotionally and mentally, for many people. You may find that you can't keep up that amicable business relationship without the marriage behind it. You may also find that you do not really trust each other, which is not good for a marriage or a business relationship.
What should you do?
What you should do really depends on your situation. It's unique. No one can make that decision for you. You must consider what your relationship looks like, if you're on good terms, if you still want to deal with your ex and whether or not you think that you can put the business first.
No matter what you decide, this process can get complex. Make sure you know your rights and all of the steps you need to take.