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The sale of a family business in divorce is not inevitable

Of course it’s not your child, but you can certainly get protective and emotional when it comes to your family business, right?

If you’ve got one of those, you undoubtedly worked long and hard — perhaps alone, maybe alongside your spouse — to make it profitable. You nurtured it, strengthened it through astute business decisions and now regard it as being almost an appendage of your personal and professional life.

Will its continued viability — even its very existence — be imperiled in a divorce? Aren’t many family-run enterprises sold or otherwise dramatically altered as the result of divorce-driven property distribution negotiations?

Indeed, they are.

But that doesn’t mean your treasured Massachusetts business is destined for material change owing simply to a divorce decree.

We ask this very pointed question on our family law website at Lisa A. Ruggieri, P.C., in Wellesley: “How is a business/professional practice impacted” when a married couple decides to call it quits?

Reams of empirical evidence readily confirm that businesses are routinely sold when a couple gets a divorce, with their assets being equitably divided between the separating parties.

Obviously, that is not always the case, though. In some instances, divorced couples manage to retain family-run enterprises and keep them every bit as viable as they were before marital dissolution.

A recent New Times article spotlights just such an outcome in an interesting story denoting the continued existence of a highly profitable organic cosmetics firm established by a now-divorced couple in their garage two decades ago. Those ex-married partners consider their business relationship as “a lifelong dream” and something they are both committed to despite their divorced status.

“We’re a package deal at this point,” notes the former wife, “because we have kids together and we work together.”

Every family law matter is different, of course. Divorce-linked questions or concerns regarding a family business and/or the division of property generally in a dissolution can be directed to an experienced asset-division attorney.

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