When divorce involves a business, not just a couple

DIVORCE is always a difficult time for the parties involved.

However, where there is a family business involved, the problems can be further compounded.

Wherever possible, divorcing couples should try to agree financial matters between themselves.

Where agreements cannot be reached, then the parties can ask the court to make an order.

The starting point is an equal division between the parties.


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Where there are business assets to consider, the House of Lords decision in the case of White v White (2000) established the principle that there has to be a good reason for the division of assets to be unequal.

Unequal splits of joint business assets can be proper and fair in some circumstances.

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For example in a case where the husband’s business did not have sufficient cash-flow to finance an equal split the Judge awarded the wife a 39% share of the parties’ assets to be paid over time.

In another case a husband who argued that his ex-wife’s settlement should be reduced because she had a new partner and had a luxurious lifestyle.

This failed to persuade the court.

Generally a key factor in the division of the marital assets is the relative contributions of the two parties to the creation of that asset base.

Such contribution also may not need to be direct by way of working within the business.

Following a high profile case in the Supreme Court in the last few months there is now strong argument to suggest that where a pre- or post-nuptial agreement has been entered into then the business assets will be divided in accordance with the terms of that agreement.

Remember, the key to a divorce settlement is that you rarely get what you deserve but rather what you can negotiate.

Attwells’ expertise as a business and property law firm means your legal advice will be balanced with commercial awareness.

Attwells’ offers a free no-obligation initial appointment so that you can understand the process and your options at no cost to you.

To make an appointment call Samantha Gray on 01473 746000 or email samantha.gray@attwells.com .

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