As a small business owner in New Jersey, you know how complex it can be at times to deal with the company’s financial and legal responsibilities. While you may think of divorce as primarily an emotional and personal issue, it is a major financial undertaking. This is especially true if you are an entrepreneur with a privately held company. Your business may be the major marital asset considered in the property division process, especially if it is successful. This may seem to be a recipe for intense conflict over the future of the business, but it is possible for business owners to successfully negotiate a divorce settlement.

Negotiating a Divorce Buy-out

Like many businesses, yours may be primarily run by one spouse. The other spouse may still contribute in a number of ways, including supporting the entrepreneur’s efforts and maintaining their lifestyle. However, if the business is your creation, you want to make sure you can keep building your company after the divorce is finalized. Some businesses have been sold because of a problematic divorce, and you want to avoid that kind of outcome. If you have enough cash and other assets, you may negotiate for your spouse to receive more of the retirement funds or real estate in exchange for their share of the company. Make sure to handle other legal issues, too. For example, your spouse should turn over intellectual property rights but also receive a waiver of liability for future business debts and litigation.

If There’s Not Enough Cash

In some cases, the value of your business may far outweigh that of your other assets, but there are still options. You may negotiate a buyout agreement, in which your spouse receives pay-off amounts over time as a form of spousal support, which decreases their equity in the company. You can also negotiate a decision-making framework during this period to keep things moving forward.

There are many specific concerns you may have when moving toward divorce as a business owner, but you can emerge successfully. A family law attorney might help you reach a settlement on property division that protects your company.