Divorce and Small Business Ownership

Many of our clients, particularly in Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley, are owners of small businesses. Separation doesn’t just touch their personal lives; it can also be an economic and professional disaster, particularly if both spouses have built up the business together and depend on it for their livelihood. Finding a way to fairly split the business — or continue to run it together — can be a challenge.

Our clients need solutions, not lengthy litigation.

Preserving What You Have Built

Quay Law Centre understands the challenges of separation, divorce and small business ownership.

Partnership agreements should cover buying and selling provisions and valuation methods to be used in case of divorce. Unfortunately, the majority of small businesses in Canada don’t have such partnership agreements. In their absence, we can help you discuss various matters related to your business:

  • Is your company a family asset or an excluded business asset? This depends on many factors, including who owns it, whether it’s used primarily for business purposes and whether the non-owning spouse has made any contribution to its acquisition or operation. This could include doing the administrative work or being the primary caregiver for children while the other spouse runs the business.
  • What’s your status? Whether you are married spouses or unmarried spouses (i.e. common law) may affect property division.
  • What is the value of your business? This may pose a challenge for small, closely held businesses, or if either side wants to value it artificially high or low. Financial information may also be unreliable or incomplete for some small businesses. We may need to call in expert valuators.
  • Who else will be affected by this separation? This may include employees, suppliers, clients, business partners, bankers and shareholders, as well as other family members.
  • Can you continue to work together? We can help you work out a contract that divides the duties of the business and ensures communication and cooperation throughout the business’s life.
  • Should somebody else run the business while the separation is in process? It may be best to have an objective third party make day-to-day decisions.

Most of our clients prefer to resolve their matters through negotiation and mediation, as it is both more cost-effective and more expedient than litigation. At our Okanagan Valley office, our junior lawyers will travel to your location if necessary to help you negotiate resolution. If litigation is necessary, our senior lawyer, who has been handling complex assets and helping small businesses deal with divorce and separation for decades, can ensure that your rights are protected.

Contact Us

Contact Quay Law Centre online, or call us locally at 604-527-1161 or toll free at 877-895-1426. We represent clients in the Metro-Vancouver area, including Surrey, Fraser Valley, Tri-Cities, Kelowna, Vernon and any other area throughout British Columbia, Canada and internationally.