Many New Jersey couples are involved in a family-held business. Oftentimes, one or both spouses rely on the family business for their primary source of income. Moreover, a successful business can be the most valuable asset in the family's portfolio.
Because the family business is so important, a high-asset divorce involving a family business can be both complicated and contentious.
Valuing the family business will likely require the help of an expert
For one, the spouses who are splitting will need to agree on how much the business is worth, as the value will determine each spouse's fair share of the property.
Unlike publicly traded companies, smaller businesses do not always have a per share trading value that is easy to establish.
While there are common accepted techniques for putting a value on a small business, usually one or both sides will need the help of a business appraiser or other experts. Having the right legal counsel to work with these experts is also important.
On a related point, there may be issues related to how to fairly divide the business, especially if one of the spouses had worked in the business before the marriage.
Deciding how to divvy up the value of the business is also difficult
Dividing a business is also not as simple as splitting up a bank account or even deciding who will own the family home. However, there are several options a couple may use to divide the business.
For example, if one spouse wants to continue the business, he or she will likely have to figure out how to buy out the other spouse's interest. Other alternatives include selling the business or, if both spouses are involved in it, continuing as business associates. Which option is best will depend on the couple's circumstances.