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Divorce between business owners could threaten company

When married couples own a Texas business, the property division phase of a divorce could create undesirable consequences for the company. In the case of TransPerfect, a translation software business, when the couple who founded the company ended their romance, the man and woman had no agreement in place that outlined how to unravel their business holdings. Because they could not come to terms independently, a court ordered the sale of the company, which could impact the jobs of 3,500 people.

Another divorce case that involved a woman's online diaper service resulted in a court giving the company to her ex-husband. She later needed to buy the company back.

In either of these cases, a buyout agreement or prenuptial agreement might have produced better results and limited the imposition of arbitrary court decisions. Legal advisers recommend negotiating the terms of a buyout agreement in the early stages of a company. If company founders later choose to divorce, then the terms could guide the process of allowing one party to step away from management.

Business ownership often complicates divorce, and a person who is entering into a high-asset divorce situation might want the counsel of an attorney. The attorney could study the financial situation of the couple and provide information about how the law could determine property division if the couple cannot come to terms. An attorney might supply negotiation support and strive to keep the client focused on long-term decisions instead of old grievances. An attorney could also recommend other experts like an accountant or appraiser who could value the company and provide crucial financial information before a property division settlement agreement is negotiated and signed.

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