In today’s economic climate there are many storms to weather for any family business, but for both the farming or business community alike, none comes worse than the emotional and financial upheaval caused by a divorce in the family.
Any shareholding or interest the husband or wife may hold in a family business forms one of the assets to be considered for division upon divorce. This can be distressing for all concerned, not just the couple separating but also for other family members innocently caught up in any dispute over the family business.
Matters being analysed by the court in minute detail in such dispute can include valuation of the interest or shareholding, the liquidity of the business and ability to extract monies, as well as complications over additional land and buildings owned. Often there are also interest in the company pension scheme to be considered (which scheme often owns the building from which the business trades). Unravelling this situation can be complex and must be handled by an experienced specialist financial settlement and pensions focused family lawyer.
It is important for everyone involved to ensure the correct professional experts are instructed to consider all options with valuations, taxation implications and strategies going forward to ensure the business and the livelihoods of others are not placed at risk whilst at the same time achieving a fair outcome.
Arguments about “contribution” arise if the business interest was in place prior to marriage or was gifted to the couple by one party’s family during the marriage. It is often the case that other family members need to consider receiving independent legal advice to protect their own positions.
Angela Moores, Solicitor, with Jarvis Family Law LLP says “the divorces involving family business’ are often the most difficult financial settlements to conclude”. Angela Moores is one of the few female Solicitors in the North of England to have Resolution Accreditation for financial settlements comprising complex financial assets on divorce including business Assets.
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