Data from the Census Bureau's Survey of Business Owners in 2007 shows there are some 1.4 million businesses in the United States that are jointly owned and equally operated by both wife and husband. There are also some 1.7 million businesses that are jointly owned but primarily run by the husband. On the other hand, some 0.6 million businesses are jointly owned but primarily run by the wife.
In general, there are a lot of family businesses across our nation, which is fantastic. But things may not be so wonderful if the couples involved in these businesses decide to divorce. The hope, of course, is that the individuals involved in the business can find an amicable and sustainable way to split up the business so that it can continue to run. But in many situations, that is simply not the case.
Emotions can run extremely high and these emotions can often take over when splitting up a business in a divorce. Someone may refuse to disclose details about the business' finances. Or maybe a spouse wants a larger portion of the company as a way to get back at their spouse. In some scenarios, a business simply cannot be saved and has to be liquidated, with the proceeds being split between the two individuals. This, of course, is a worst-case scenario in many cases.
If, of course, spouses do want to keep the business afloat after divorce, there are some steps that both individuals can take in order to make that happen. In our next post we will discuss some strategies that may help keep a business thriving even after divorce.