It is not uncommon for spouses to share many interests — often this is part of what led to the marriage to begin with. For some British Columbia residents, this can extend as far as becoming involved in a work environment with a spouse — a business partnership where both individuals co-own a business together. If the couple subsequently pursues a divorce, there are a number of ways they can protect their mutual interests.
Immediately, many professionals recommend that couples who co-own a business consider getting a prenuptial agreement that can help to mitigate the division of business assets in the case of divorce. For those couples for whom the business came after the marriage, a buyout agreement could be a next-best step. Such an agreement lays out terms through which one spouse can buy the other out of the business at a previously-agreed-upon price.
It is also possible to pursue a property settlement note, which allows one spouse to owe the other for his or her portion of the business, often with interest attached. Of course, if it is possible for a divorced couple to “stay together” in a business sense, this is the option with the least fees and paperwork attached, though this may not be a viable option in the case of contentious divorce. Ultimately, it is up to the couple in question to determine which alternative works best for them.
A divorce is already a challenging and sometimes-complicated process, as some British Columbia residents can attest. Limiting the complication of a jointly-owned business is possible, but adds a layer of complexity to the divorce proceedings. For both parties, separately seeking the advice of an experienced family law attorney can help illuminate what options are available, and what will work best for the client and the business alike.