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Business as marital property: Working with your ex after divorce

Sometimes, divorce can mean happily ever after. That is right; for a noticeable population of Floridians, divorce is actually the ticket to financial prosperity. That is because these couples choose to retain their jointly owned businesses, acting as business partners instead of romantic partners. This property division decision is not for everyone, but some special ex-couples have been able to enjoy financial success through a business partnership with their former spouses.

In many cases, couples who own businesses sacrifice their entrepreneurial ventures during the property division phase of the divorce. Splitting a business can be a tricky endeavor, so it is often just easier to shutter the operation and start anew. Some couples even sell the business after it is valued in order to obtain the resulting liquid assets.

For a select few couples, however, business partnership provides the relationship they may have been missing all along. These ex-spouses are known as "copreneurs," and they are successful because they can effectively separate their personal and professional lives. A family business can stay intact through a divorce if the owners are able to "compartmentalize" by focusing exclusively on the professional aspects of the relationship.

One woman said that her ex-husband has married twice more -- and divorced twice -- since their original breakup. Through it all, they have remained functional business partners. Even though they do not share a romantic relationship, their professional skills are so complementary that they make successful co-owners.

So, it might benefit you to carefully consider retaining your share in your jointly owned business, even after a divorce. It is possible to enjoy financial success by working together with an ex-spouse. No two property division cases are the same, so both parties need to genuinely evaluate their commitment to the business before making such a significant decision.

Source: NPR, "When Divorce Leads To A Happily Ever After For A Small Business" Yuki Noguchi, Apr. 17, 2014

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