Business Assets on Divorce

Legal Advice on Business Assets on Divorce

The treatment of businesses on divorce is a complicated issue and a number of factors will need to be considered when deciding how it should be dealt with as part of any financial settlement.

Where a business has been established during a married couple’s relationship, it will be usually considered a ‘matrimonial asset’ which is subject to the sharing principle on divorce. That’s not to say the outcome would be that the business would be sold and the proceeds divided between the parties. If possible, the aim should be to enable the party who runs the business to continue to do so, whilst compensating the other party in some way. This can include a larger share of the other matrimonial assets, maintenance payments or in some cases the transfer of shares in the business.

Business Valuations Relating to Divorce

In certain circumstances, defending divorce proceedings may be in your best interests:

An initial business valuation may be undertaken by the company accountant if appropriate. However, in most cases where it has been determined that a business is to be valued, this would usually be carried out by a single joint expert (SJE) who is appointed jointly by the parties to the divorce.

Valuations are complex and there will be a number of considerations such as:

    • Income generated from the business both now and projected;
    • The standard of living that the business supports;
    • Assets within the business such as property, vehicles, machinery etc.
    • The value of business pensions;
    • Whether or not it is possible to extract capital from the business;
    • Whether or not it is possible to borrow money against the business or its assets;
    • The ownership structure of the company and whether the party who has an interest in it is a majority or minority shareholder.

In light of the complex nature of business valuations, specialist accountant advice should be sought.

Business valuations are not always necessary or appropriate and if parties agree on the value to place on a business, this will save the expense and delay of appointing an SJE.


How does the business form part of a financial settlement?

Once a business had been valued, there are a number of options available to determine how it should form part of any financial settlement and this may depend upon factors such as who are the shareholders? Does one party own all of the shares or do both parties have an interest? Is the party with an interest a majority or minority shareholder?

When considering how to deal with business assets, consideration should be had to issues such as:

  • Illiquidity
  • Risk vs. reward
  • Avoiding double counting – for example, if a spouse is to benefit from both a capital sum from the business and also ongoing spousal maintenance
  • Any discounts applicable
  • Not interrupting the performance of the business
  • The potential to extract capital from the business
  • Achieving a clean break

Some of the options available when considering how the business may form part of a settlement include:

  • Payment of a capital lump sum to the spouse who is not retaining the business;
  • Sharing the income from the business by way of spousal maintenance;
  • Transferring shares to a spouse and paying them dividends from the business;
  • A combination of a series of lump-sum payments and maintenance;
  • Awarding the non-business owner a greater share of the other available assets.

If you would like advice in relation to business assets on divorce, please contact our expert family law team on 0113 322 9222 or or by completing our Contact Us form.

Contact Sarah

What Our Clients Say About Our Family Law Services

Laura Clapton has been brilliant and very professional through the Mediation process. I highly recommend her.

Jen Huggett

Absolutely five star service from Laura Clapton and her team, always kept informed of progress, and Laura was always available on the end of the phone to answer any questions. Highly recommended, thank you Consilia Legal.

Jane C

Professional and personal. Vicky was very caring and listened to my issue, advice was clear and easy to understand. Vicky ensured my mind was at ease and I knew my options. Excellent service. Sarah really knows the family sector, she puts you at ease instantly and ensures you are aware of all the options. Would definitely recommend this service. Thank you for your help.

Catherine White

Vicky guided me through the legal context of an employment and was very efficent, approachable and supportive. I would highly recommend this company and Vicky to others who need legal support and advice. Many thanks.

Maureen Sheridan

Had a great experience working with Victoria. Felt completely comfortable asking all kinds of questions and she always explained them really well.

Julia Mariani

I often get clients asking if I can assist with employment and family matters. As this is not my area of specialism I am conscious to help assist by passing them onto a trusted source who will look after the client in the best manner possible and with the same approach and ethos as myself. For employment and family matters I recommend to Consilia Legal as they contact the client promptly and provide practical no nonsense advice at a great value. I have no hesitation in recommending their services and will continue to direct my clients to them for this type of legal advice.

John Bailes

What our clients say about Consilia Legal on

  • review rating 5  Thanks Laura and team at Consilia Legal. Great service and such a pragmatic and human approach to the legal system. Fitted really well with my personal values. Truly aimed at being conciliatory rather than adversarial.

    thumb David Beaumont
  • review rating 5  Received a really good service from Marie and the team including Emma, who offered valuable support throughout. I contacted Consilia following a recommendation from a union representative. Was given great advise through her trusted associate who offered an accurate and professional assessment. Marie secured a really good outcome due to her knowledge, perseverance, conscientiousness and genuine desire to try and get the best outcome on my behalf. A lot of genuine empathy and respect expressed and a brilliant negotiator. Very well informed, experienced and brilliant communicator. True to her word re costs as discussion was upfront and honest. Very reasonable rate compared to other firms. Would recommend to others Thank you very much!

    thumb Elaben Mistry Jackson
  • review rating 5  Marie, Andy, Victoria and Emma were exceptional in their help, advice and support – all done with a non-nonsense super friendly approach. Really took the stress out of a difficult corporate employment process. I felt safe and confident in their capable hands, recommending them highly.

    thumb Sophie Webb
  • review rating 5  Very quick and reassuring response from Andy and the team here after a very difficult situation at work. Referred from Citizen Advice Bureau because all other firms seemed less bothered about my needs versus their fees. Andy gave great advice and helped explore my options so I could respond appropriately without being cornered by my work. Ended up with a very amicable outcome! In difficult times you need people like Consilia to help guide and support you... thanks guys

    thumb Mirra Riz
  • review rating 5  I would have no hesitation in recommending Consilia Legal. Being in the more than capable hands of Marie & Andy collectively, helped me through an employment issue, which was difficult at times. However the support I received was highly proffessional, with a very caring approach at all times & they guided me through the process. Thank you so much. Elaine

    thumb Elaine Dale
  • review rating 5  Great service provided by Andy from initial contact all the way through to completion. Very helpful and knowledgeable and helped to get everything sorted out quickly. I would highly recommend.

    thumb liam miller
  • review rating 5  I had to get a Solicitor a pretty short notice, and Andy was able to see me the same day. He made me feel very at ease and explained everything to me so I could understand it better. I would highly recommend Consilia to everyone Thank you again Andy for your fantastic advice and support

    thumb Kelly Rawson

Latest articles

covid19 changes to the family justice system

COVID-19 changes the landscape of the family justice system

Two weeks ago, as a nation, we were thrust into new and unfamiliar territories of social distancing and self-isolation. Two weeks later and I am...
Online Family Mediation Coronavirus

Online Family Mediation

  At Consilia Mediation we are able to offer our clients a fully comprehensive mediation service including online mediation. Online mediation has become more prevalent...
carrying over annual leave during COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic

Carrying over annual leave during COVID-19/Coronavirus

Do you have questions around the subject of carrying over annual leave during COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic? In this blog we will answer common questions on this...


4 Park Place,
West Yorkshire,

 0113 322 9222

Get In Touch


(By Appointment Only)

Windsor House,
Cornwall Road,

 01423 222 220

Got a question?
Get in touch!