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What Can Happen to the Family Business in a Divorce?

Schwei & Wendt, S.C. Feb. 16, 2021

Suppose you are preparing for divorce or already in the middle of one. In that case, you are likely aware of how much of a challenge asset division is—negotiating for who gets to keep what in a divorce can quickly turn into heated arguments and leave one or both spouses with serious regrets. Property division in a divorce is no simple task, but it becomes considerably more complicated if a family business is involved.

While there are many questions you may have about property division involving your family business, it is also essential to understand the common outcomes for the business involved in a divorce.


If both spouses want to continue owning their share of the business, it is possible to continue doing so. Even if the ownership of the business does not change, the dynamic of it may change. One spouse may decide they no longer want to manage or operate the business but continue collecting their income from their part of the business.


If one spouse does not want to keep their share of the business, the other spouse may want to buy them out. For this to happen, the spouses will need to appraise the business’s value and determine the value of the share for sale. This share can also become a part of the negotiation during the rest of the property division.

Total Sale

If neither spouse wants to keep their share of the business or not come to an agreement during negotiations, they may opt to sell the business entirely. The sale’s money will likely divide based on what amount of ownership each spouse had in the business.

Prepare for Your Outcome

If you know what type of outcome you want to see for your family business, consult with a family law attorney about what you can do to secure that outcome. With enough preparation, your lawyer can help you defend your best interests.