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Does my wife have to get out of my business when we get divorced?

Richmond, VA |
Filed under: Divorce

I was married for 20 years. I started and ran a business for the past 10 years. My wife is 1/2 owner. Now that we are getting divorced I want her out of my business. Does she have to sell me her half or can she refuse therefore causing us to have to be connected forever? ugh. I will not sell her my half.

Attorney Answers 3


Equitable distribution--(how property is divided in divorce is governed by Section 20-107.3 of the Code of Virginia.)- Essentially, one of you will be forced out of the business and it is usually the least involved spouse. Assuming the business has value. you will likely be ordered to pay a monetary award to your wife for her interest in the business. This is a complicated issue and you should seek counsel.

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The options are she sells you her half, you sell her yours, you sell the whole business and split the proceeds, or you continue working together. The first step is to value the business and the nonbusiness assets and try to equitably divide them. You may need to speak to a family law attorney for help.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

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You and your wife can settle your differences, including the disposition of your business, with a separation agreement or property settlement agreement. You may do this on your own, either or each with an attorney, or through mediation.

If you are unable to reach an agreement, you can ask the court to divide all your marital property and debts through the equitable distribution process, link to Section 20-107.3 below, as part of your divorce case. As a starting point, the judge will classify all your property, separate, marital and hybrid, including this property, and the disposition of this property will depend on the overall equitable distribution. Ultimately,if you cannot continue as co-owners, one of you will have to either buy out the other or the business will be sold.

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