Dealing with business assets on divorce can be complex. Are you a shareholder, a director or both? Do you assist in running the business? If you are the business owner, do you want to keep the business? If so, how will you compensate your ex? How is the business to be valued? You may be able to agree, or you may need expert advice. Are sufficient other assets available?
If alternative assets are not available, ongoing maintenance payments or possibly a share of dividend income might be considered. Your ex, however, may not want to have that ongoing reliance on you and the courts certainly try to achieve a financial clean break between divorcing couples, where possible.
The nature of business interests can cause complications. If your ex operates the business, you will need to ensure you have sufficient information about the business to enable you or your accountancy expert to properly value it. On the other hand, if you are the business owner, you may have legitimate concerns about disclosing confidential business information. Legal advice should be obtained so that you know what should, and should not, be disclosed.
There may be concerns about disposing of or hiding assets and one party may seek advice about obtaining a freezing order or other injunction in order to protect assets. This could affect the ability of a business to operate properly, and advice should therefore be sought about lifting such injunctions, either by an application to court or by negotiating a compromise.
Where international elements are involved, particular care is needed. It could be business or other assets, or indeed one or both parties, which are in a different jurisdiction. If so, it is important to be aware that selling or transferring assets may have tax or other implications in the relevant country. There can also be difficulties in enforcing Manx court orders against assets located in different jurisdictions. It may be that protective measures, or even alternative agreements, are required to ensure an outcome that is fair and reasonable.
Court is not the only answer. The majority of disputes are resolved by negotiation. Mediation should also be considered.
These are just a few of the issues that can arise when dealing with business assets on divorce and, in particular, where there is an international element. Good legal advice is invaluable. At Simcocks, as well as family lawyers, we also have a team of experts in all aspects of commercial, trust and property law, all to ensure that the best possible advice is provided.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.