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My divorce and business: How can I protect my business?

Your divorce and business settlement can be a complicated matter to resolve. Whether you’re going through the divorce process or are about to get married, it’s vital to understand the possible implications for your business.

Under English and Welsh law, when considering divorce and business settlements, a business is usually seen as a ‘matrimonial asset’ when it comes to a financial settlement upon divorce. As a result, your business may be included as part of the financial settlement.


What are the possible outcomes?

If you and your spouse were unable to reach an agreement about your financial settlement (how your assets would be divided upon divorce) and the family courts were asked make the decision for you, there are a number of possible outcomes, including:


You keep the business but your spouse is compensated elsewhere

A judge may decide that you can keep your business but your spouse should be given a larger share of, for example, the family home.


Divide the shares 

In some circumstances, the courts may decide that dividing the shares between both spouses may be the best option. Alternatively, a judge could come to the conclusion that sharing the income would be appropriate.


Sometimes, it may be necessary for two people who are divorced to regularly be in touch with each other to deal with business issues. Obviously, this may not be ideal, especially with the courts’ emphasis on clean breaks, but in some circumstances there may be no other suitable options.

divorce and business


Consider mediation or collaborative law

Asking a judge to decide your financial settlement upon divorce should normally be viewed as a last resort. Not only can going through the courts be time-consuming and costly, it ultimately takes the final decision of how your assets should be divided out of yours and your spouse’s hands and into the hands of a judge.


Reaching an agreement outside of the courts is usually the preferred option. This way, you and your spouse may be able to work towards an agreement that both protects your business and provides a financial settlement with which you are both satisfied.


If you are unable to decide how your assets should be split between yourselves, there are other options available. Mediation, for example, where an independent third party aids discussions between you and your spouse, can be helpful in some circumstances.


Collaborative law, a series of 4-way meetings between you, your spouse and your respective solicitors, may also help you to reach an agreement with your spouse.


Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements

If you are not yet married, pre-nuptial agreements, also known as pre-nups, enable you and your future spouse to specify what should happen to your assets if you divorce. A pre-nup which includes your business, may help to avoid any future issues.


If you are already married, a post-nuptial agreement may be possible.


Although these agreements are not legally binding, they will usually be taken into account by the courts, as long as certain procedures have been followed.


If you are worried about how your business will be affected by your divorce, it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice from a specialist solicitor.


How can our expert divorce solicitors help you?

Our expert divorce solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues:


Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email


Our expert divorce solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in our:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Sheffield Office: Pinfold Street, The Balance, Sheffield, S1 2GU

Manchester Office: King Street, Manchester, M2 4PD

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

London Office: 01 Nothumberland Avenue, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5BW

Please contact us for more details. 

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28th November 2018

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