After divorce, some family-run businesses thrive

Any Chicago couple that has gone through divorce knows that property division is a major factor. Unraveling your intertwined lives to decide who gets what, however, is rarely easy — especially when you have a family business at stake.

Millions of married couples in this country operate small businesses, but if their relationship sours, they are all faced with the difficult decision of how to handle it. In some situations, one spouse will give up his or her stake in the business in exchange for different assets. Others may choose to sell the business and split the profits. A small handful, however, decide to continue to work together as business partners. Although this may sounds like a recipe for disaster, some people make it work.

Not only do these people make it work, but some of them even thrive as business partners when they are no longer married. Consider the situation of one Chicago couple. Although they disagreed on many things during their divorce, after a few years apart, the woman asked her ex-husband to join her public relations firm.

Although they didn’t work as a couple, she knew that he would be a good fit for the business. Since then, the two have become good friends again, which has allowed them to raise a child together amicably and operate a successful business. She has even included her ex in her will.

While this former Chicago couple found a way to make their relationship work in the professional world, most couples do not. In fact, many people would hate the idea of having to see their ex-spouse every day, let alone run a business with him or her. Fortunately, there are ways to fairly divide all marital assets, including a family business, in a divorce.

Source: NPR, “When Divorce Leads To A Happily Ever After For A Small Business,” Yuki Noguchi, April 17, 2014