Divorce and Family-Owned Businesses

When couples who own a business together decide to part ways, they face unique challenges. In many cases, both spouses want to continue operating the business, but there is no written partnership agreement. There may also be other important individuals that have a role in the business; such as parents, children, other family members, and outside owners. Because of the complexities involved with divorce and family-owned businesses, it is often better to handle these issues through divorce mediation, because it gives couples greater control over the outcome of the proceeding.

Advanced Mediation Solutions (AMS) specializes in handling divorces for couples with family-owned businesses. AMS founder and professional mediator Roseann Vanella has an extensive financial and business background, with over 25 years of experience negotiating complex financial contracts in a corporate setting. Roseann handles each mediation session personally, and she works closely with couples to develop win-win settlements that preserve important relationships and protect the long-term stability of the business.

Divorce Mediation vs. Traditional Litigation

For couples with family-owned businesses, a traditional divorce can be costly and protracted.  Because of the complex financial issues involved, attorneys usually require retainer fees (typically of up to $25,000 or more) just to get started. If the proceeding turns especially combative, it can require extensive discovery, numerous court appearances, and a final bill that could easily top six figures. And at the end of it all, the court is the one ultimately in control of how your business assets will be divided.

In divorce mediation, we adopt a different approach that is non-adversarial, completely confidential, and can save couples tens of thousands of dollars. During the mediation sessions, we examine the unique complexities of your family business and relationship. For example, in some cases, one spouse has a greater level of involvement with the business, and the other prefers to get out of it entirely. In many other cases, however, the spouses want to remain business partners after the divorce is finalized.

In the latter cases, Roseann mediates not only the divorce, but also the post-divorce business partnership agreement. She takes into account all relevant factors, such as entity structure (e.g., partnership, LLC, corporation, etc.), family members, outside owners/shareholders, and key employees to craft an agreement that works for all parties involved. When necessary, outside experts can also be brought in to help provide additional guidance in developing a workable agreement. These may include business evaluators, CPAs, financial advisors, and even the attorneys for each spouse.

Divorcing spouses with family-owned businesses have specific needs that are often not satisfactorily addressed through traditional litigation. Roseann puts her experience to work to develop a settlement that fully addresses your needs and protects and preserves the business you have worked so hard to build. For additional information and an initial consultation, contact us today at 856-669-7172.