Divorce and business assets

Divorce can be a time of immense pressure, not least if there are business assets involved in the split. If you are a business owner, whether jointly with your spouse, jointly with a third party outside the marriage or alone, this can add an extra layer of complexity and negotiation to the situation. It is important that all assets, including business concerns are dealt with correctly and fairly in order to protect everyone involved.


Business assets are handled in a similar way to a family home, additional properties, vehicles, savings etc. in that they are considered part of the matrimonial resources. In the event of the divorcing couple being unable to reach consensus about what to do with them, they will be divided up and allocated by the courts. It is important, therefore to seek professional legal advice and support to ensure that you can retain the assets that you are entitled to and need to build your new life, post-divorce.


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How business assets are valued

Getting a business and its assets valued is not always straightforward and it is wise to seek an external specialist help to prepare the valuation documents. This is an important stage, as it provided unbiased, unequivocal proof of how much the business is worth. The process should be the same, whether the business is jointly owned by both partners or just by one party. Good practice is to engage a single expert to act for all interested parties to prepare a single set of valuation documents. This saves time and money and prevent ambiguity or disagreements around the finances. Business assets are valued by looking at property and current earnings, as well as plans for growth and potential future profit and income.


You are entitled to close a business, or open a new one, while you are in the process of getting divorced. The proceeds from any sale may be considered part of the matrimonial assets and taken into account when dividing the overall assets. If the business is jointly owned, both parties will need to give permission for its sale. You should seek professional legal advice if you are unclear about this process and how it will affect your divorce. Should you wish to ringfence any income from a new business started during a divorce process, it is best to seek specialist advice on the matter, as this can be complex to handle.

How business assets are divided

The starting point for most divorces cases is to divide assets from the marriage in a 50-50 split. This can be affected by weighting being added to either side to take into account such factors as childcare, healthcare, education and housing costs. The courts will also consider other aspects, such as anything that could adversely affect future earning potential. In some cases, non-marital assets can be included in this assessment to ensure that the outcome is fair and achievable for both parties.


Any agreements that the couple can reach outside of the courts will also be given serious weighting. Both sides are strongly advised to seek their own legal advice to ensure that their ownership or interest in the business assets is protected. The courts will need to issue a consent order to make any such agreement legally binding.

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Our professional and highly experienced team of family lawyers can assist you in your legal matters with full respect, ensuring you maintain a private family life. For more extensive advice and information, please email or call us 02076299905 or book an initial online consultation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

All business assets that were accrued during the marriage can be considered part of the overall marital pot of resources. This includes all business types, such as sole traders, partnerships, limited companies and public limited companies. Shares are normally considered in the same way as other business assets, but professional advice should be sought as to the implications of a divorce on the shareholders and the business.

Knowing how much business assets are worth is essential when it comes to calculating and dividing up the overall assets from a marriage. This ensures that the split is fair and provides enough for all parties to start their new life, post-divorce. It also helps any children or vulnerable people supported by the parting couple to be properly provided for.

Each case will be different, due to the individual factors involved. However, it is common for each spouse to receive a direct interest in the business. Sometimes, the value of the business assets are used to offset another asset. Or, the business can be sold and the value divided between spouses.

There are various ways of protecting business and other assets at the outset of a marriage or civil partnership. For example, a pre-nuptial agreement can be arranged to ringfence the business and its profits. Keeping business and household finances separate can also help simplify matters before and during the divorce process.

We are based in Hammersmith, London, with our Head Office located at 4 Cambridge Court, 210 Shepherds Bush Road, Hammersmith, London, W6 7NJ. We also have branches in Birmingham and Manchester

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