Putting together a family business is often equal parts difficult and rewarding. Those who find success may see the business as more than just a profession, but as an additional part of the family. The business can become a part of the family’s culture, a part of the family’s heritage.

Like any other part of the family, the business will be impacted by a divorce.

This was recently highlighted by a case out of Minnesota involving a multi-million dollar company. The case has the makings of a hit reality television show. It involves a couple that marries and builds a business with the help of extended family members. Children from the marriage become integral workers in the business. Unfortunately, it is all threatened when the founding father of the business has an affair that leads to the collapse of the marriage. 

Both the mother and father were actively involved in the business, along with the children. The children held almost 50 percent of the business and used this to encourage the father out of his position in the business.

Lessons from the case

High asset divorces like the one described above require extra care. In addition to navigating child support, child custody and basic property division issues, these couples must also navigate business valuations and how to handle additional properties as well as any offshore accounts.

In the case above, an investigation revealed the fact that the father had used millions in business funds to support his affair. Without digging into these types of issues, it is difficult to get a fair divorce settlement. It does not appear that this was discovered during the divorce proceeding. This could have negatively impacted the wife’s divorce settlement. In order to help better ensure a more favorable outcome when in this type of situation, it is wise to seek legal counsel when going through a divorce. Your attorney will review all areas that can impact your share of the agreement, including any improper use of funds as well as digging for any potential hidden assets.