February 6, 2017

Rover’s Return landlords explosive split: how to safeguard a family business

One of Coronation Street’s explosive upcoming storylines is rumoured to have Rover’s Return landlords, Steve McDonald and Michelle Connor  heading for divorce following tragic domestic upheavals and his infidelity.

Media speculation on the split in the iconic series includes the million dollar question question – who will get the pub?

While the soap is fictitious, the issue of ensuring a business holds up, not folds up, through divorce is a very real and prevalent one – bringing many complexities which, in this scenario, include whether or not the pub is a tenancy.The trauma of divorce, which impacts on separating couples, their children, and their wider family and friends, can be further exacerbated when a business is involved.

Many business owners with failed marriages have found themselves losing an organisation they have worked long and hard to build over decades, to their ex.

Safeguarding the family company is therefore critical and situations when husband and wife teams own joint shareholdings as “co-preneurs” and both seek to retain their stake in the company, can be difficult to resolve – requiring expert advice.

Many couples also employ their children in the family business – increasing the importance of a smooth transition to safeguard their sons’ and daughters’ respective roles.

In a divorce, a company is regarded as a matrimonial asset, to be sold or shared like any other. It is therefore vital for a couple in business together to secure sound legal advice before marrying, so that a pre-nuptial agreement can be drawn up.

Although pre-nups are not legally binding, courts do take them into account and they can make the whole divorce process run more smoothly. However, in the absence of a pre-nup, a business will be scrutinised by the court – prompting questions such as How much is it worth? What income can it produce – now and in the future, when assets are divided? Should it be producing more? Judges will often examine a business’ liquidity and how this might be paid out.

If you have any comments, queries or concerns on divorce affecting business and divorce  or wider divorce related issues, leave a comment below, call the Jones Myers team on 0113 246 0055 or tweet us on @helpwithdivorce.