Businesses often form a central part of any divorce or civil partnership dissolution. You may need to get your business valued by an accountant who specialises in valuing businesses for divorce purposes, called a forensic accountant. However, this can be expensive, especially if you disagree about how much the business is worth and each pay for your own valuation. Try to agree what you think it is worth and how to deal with it, so as to avoid this expense. Sometimes a valuation of the business won't be necessary, so speak to a solicitor first – see Useful links.
If you both own part of the business or one of you owns it but the other works for it, you may not want this co-ownership or co-working to continue when your relationship has broken down. Think about how you are going to deal with this and how it may impact others affected by the business, such as employees and suppliers. If you are the person leaving the business, think about where you might work and how you will generate an income.
If your business is one which has been passed down many generations of your family, a court might try to preserve the business intact, for example, so that you can pass it on to the next generation in the future.
How courts deal with businesses is often a complex area and can impact on your financial position and that of the business in a number of ways. For example, a court could make an order which requires the owner of the business to draw on the business' assets to pay the other spouse or civil partner a lump sum. This may not only reduce the value of the business, but could affect the income that can be taken from it or cause problems in terms of dealing with the business' bank. If your business affairs are complicated or you would like further advice, speak to a solicitor and/or accountant– see Useful links.
If you work on your own and have not set up your business as a company, you will be a 'sole trader'.Find out more about sole trader
If you and your spouse or civil partner are in partnership together, you may not want to work together after divorce or dissolution.Find out more about partnerships
If you control 100 per cent of a limited company, the court may see it as another of your resources which needs to be considered in any financial settlement.Find out more about limited companies