Property division: What happens to a business?

There are many things on the table when a couple makes the decision to divorce. One of the discussions British Columbia couples in this circumstance must have is regarding property division. But what happens when a business is involved? It doesn't matter if the business is worth billions, millions or thousands of dollars, communication and collaboration are the keys, according to experts.

Canadian family law usually allows for a spouse who doesn't own the business to get what amounts to half the value of the business during the time of the marriage, unless a marriage contract stipulates otherwise. The spouse who owns the business needs to have the business evaluated. But the spouse who has no owner interest may also hire an independent evaluator if he or she doesn't agree with the evaluation.

If no decision can be made and the matter goes to litigation, all information will be made public. Once a value has been determined, the decision must be made as to how to pay the nonowner spouse. When spouses are co-owners, a cooperative approach is the wisest course of action -- for the sake of each individual, for the company and its employees.

Divorce can be particularly challenging for business owners. British Columbia entrepreneurs who have questions regarding property division and how their businesses might be affected, may find the advice of an experienced lawyer to be beneficial. Selling, splitting, and dividing business assets can make divorce more complex and since a business is likely the most valuable financial asset one can own, making wise decisions is essential.

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