What happens to my company if I get divorced?
28 April 2023
Factors that Determine What Happens to My Company When I Get Divorced
If you and your partner work together in the company, you will need to decide how to divide the business or whether to sell it. In this case, careful consideration of the distribution is crucial, and it’s important to assess whether your business relationship will continue after the divorce.
If one of the partners is the sole owner of the company, the other partner cannot claim ownership of the company. It’s essential to understand that the owner is the only person who can make decisions about the company, and the other partner will have no authority.
However, even if the other partner has no authority over the company, they may still have the right to a share of the company’s value.
If you have a marriage contract, it may specify how you should distribute the ownership of the company in the event of a divorce. It’s important to review this contract and consider whether it provides sufficient clarity on the division of the company.
How Do I Know if My Ex-partner Is Entitled to a Share of My Company’s Value?
To answer this question, you must first determine which assets belong to the company.
In Belgium, there are three categories of assets in marriages: the private property of one partner, the private property of the other partner, and/or the communal property.
Whether your marriage includes all three assets depends on the marriage system.
The general rule is: If you haven’t signed a marriage contract, you are married under the legal system, and all three assets are present.
If you have signed a marriage contract, you may have chosen not to have communal property, and there may only be the private properties of the partners. This is the case if you have a contract with separation of property. If you are in this situation and have jointly established a company, it is referred to as undivided.
Whether a company belongs to the private or communal property depends on various factors.
Private property consists of assets and debts acquired by one spouse before marriage or through specific inheritance and donations. A company established by one spouse before marriage falls under this category and is part of the private property of that spouse.
On the other hand, communal property includes assets and debts acquired by both spouses during marriage or by one spouse using money from the joint property. A company established during marriage falls under this category and is part of the communal property of the married couple.
What If the Company Belongs to the Communal Property?
If the company belongs to the communal property, your (ex)partner is entitled to a share of the company’s value in the event of a divorce, even if they are not a shareholder.
In general, dividing a company can be complex, and it’s crucial to consult with a specialist who can help you make the right decisions.
An attorney with expertise in this field can guide you in making the right decisions for your specific situation.
At De Groote – De Man, you have both a specialized family law team and an experienced business law team to assist you in both your divorce and the handling of your company’s affairs.