The Way you Divorce could Save your Business

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Rob was a successful entrepreneur who had built up a business in Bath during the marriage. He came to see me as his marriage of 10 years to Sarah had come to an end. I learnt that Sarah knew little about the business and was concerned that she would lose out. Rob felt that the business was “his” rather than an asset to be shared.

A Nasty Divorce can mean trouble for Business

The impact of a marriage breakdown and divorce does ripple out well beyond the family home. A business caught in the cross fire of a divorce will suffer. Inattention from a stressed-out, depressed or preoccupied owner can lose customers and business opportunities. Divorce costs can escalate as competing lawyers and forensic accountants pick over the assets of the business.

A business interest is an asset to be divided between both spouses. It can often be the most valuable asset in the marriage and the biggest bone of contention in a divorce. Valuing it is complex, costly and time-consuming. How and who values it can be a major flash-point of conflict. Aside from its financial value, the emotional attachments can inflame the one who created it as he or she faces the prospect of sharing it with the other who has had no involvement in it.

The process you choose for your divorce can determine its outcome

What Sarah really wanted was the security of keeping the family home, not an interest in the business. Rob wanted to keep control of his business in Bath and the future benefits it might bring. They both wanted to avoid the acrimony and trauma of a traditional adversarial divorce court process. They feared that might destroy the business and the wealth they were trying to divide. They didn’t want a Judge sitting in the Bath County Court determining financial arrangements in their place.

Rob and Sarah selected me and another Bath Collaborative family lawyer to work with them and together we committed to resolve matters between us without involving the court.

We committed to resolve matters …… without involving the court

We introduced a collaboratively trained financial advisor. He looked from a neutral perspective at the assets of the marriage including the business and the family home, and helped Rob and Sarah understand the division options open to them. A family consultant worked with them to address their emotions towards each other, develop communication and a level of trust between them. Through a series of meetings attended by Rob and me, Sarah and her lawyer, we found a solution from the options available that met their interests and needs without either feeling disadvantaged.

The collaborative divorce process proved to

  • preserve the wealth held by Rob & Sarah and not destroy it.
  • ensure the right professional dealt with the right problem for Rob & Sarah.
  • encourage Rob & Sarah to think creatively and craft solutions that worked for them and their family.
  • enable them to decide and keep control of what happened & how fast it happened.

Every divorcing couple is different, and a collaborative divorce process is not for everyone. But Rob & Sarah found that a collaborative divorce can enable solutions to be found and destruction to be limited to those things that were important to them and their family.

For a free copy of “A Client’s Guide to Collaborative Divorce” contact me atrichard@sharpfamilylaw.com

Article by Richard Sharp

Richard is dedicated to helping clients avoid the trauma of prolonged conflict by finding solutions that benefit them and their families. He works to resolve complex financial situations, protect assets acquired over lifetimes, prioritise the needs of children, and reach outcomes that are fair for all parties.