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Dividing business interests within a Massachusetts divorce

Divorcing couples have a lot on their plate. The need to address child custody issues, property division and a wide range of other concerns can take a great deal of time and effort. However, for those in Massachusetts who own a business with their soon-to-be-ex spouse, dividing up the business interests can further complicate their divorce.

When a business is jointly owned, both spouses have the right to retain the value of their share of the business and its holdings. This can be difficult to quantify, however, and requires a carefully considered approach. Should a dispute arise concerning the value of the business, litigation can follow, which can greatly add to the stress and expense of a Massachusetts divorce.

Couples can take a number of approaches when deciding how to fairly divide their business. One option involves simply selling the business and dividing the proceeds. This is not an option, however, for spouses who have worked hard to build their business and wish to continue operating it after the divorce is final. In such cases, the best approach is to have the business valued by an independent appraiser. The spouse who wishes to retain the business will then need to negotiate a payment or transfer of assets that will suffice to buy the other partner out.

The process of dividing the value of a Massachusetts business can quickly become complicated. Contention between parties can lead to a legal scenario that can make the divorce longer and more costly than either party desires. When addressing how the business is to be transferred, divorcing spouses should make every effort to work together to preserve the wealth that lies in the business, so that the value of their shared hard work can be split between husband and wife, and not spent on excessive legal fees.

Source:, "Dividing Up the Business in a Divorce" Loretta Hutchinson, June 7, 2013

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