If you own a small, family-run business, you have put countless hours and effort into building a client base and turning a profit. Despite the amount of time and energy that you have invested in your family business, a divorce could impact your ownership rights and your role in the business.

Missouri laws state that marital property and assets are distributed between the two parties in a manner deemed most appropriate by the court, including jointly owned businesses. Small business owners must be careful to protect their interests by working with a lawyer experienced in complex property division matters.

Who will retain ownership?

All marital property will be subjected to equitable division. While equitable division assumes that property distribution will be fair, it does not necessarily mean it will be distributed equally. When the court is making these decisions, a family-owned business could be divided between the two parties or granted to one of the spouses.

When it comes to retaining ownership or seeking a beneficial resolution to concerns regarding your small business, you may want to work with your attorney to seek a negotiated settlement and avoid litigation. If this is the best approach for you, it is important to take the following steps:

  • Secure the help of an attorney experienced in complex asset division.
  • Ensure that the business is appropriately and accurately valued.
  • Keep an open mind during negotiations and your sight set on a strong post-divorce future.

Your lawyer can explain any options for possibly retaining ownership control of the business or finding a creative solution that allows you to continue to have a strong role in your business.

You can effectively navigate complex property division matters

During a divorce, you may feel that it will be impossible to ever resolve all of the issues at hand in a way that is both beneficial and sustainable. You are rightfully concerned about the future of your business, and it is important to have accurate, honest information about your property rights and the protection of your interests.

Property division is one of the most emotional and difficult aspects of divorce, especially when it comes to a family-owned business. By working with an experienced legal ally who knows how to navigate these contentious and complicated matters, your entrepreneurial dreams do not have to end along with your marriage.