Do you own a family business? Unfortunately for people who are going through divorce, the inclusion of a closely held business makes divorce more complex. One person who can help with many aspects of handling the future and division of your family business is an accountant. How? Here are a few things they can do for you before, during, and after divorce. 

Before Divorce

An accountant can help both parties learn what the true state of the business is before a divorce. Are its books accurate and complete? Can it be run by other persons or is it too tied up with one party? What are its assets and liabilities? Are its taxes completed and paid? Preparing the business for divorce negotiations or division is vital so that everyone understands what it's worth and what their best options are. 

During Divorce

One of the most important parts of negotiating over a business is to accurately gauge its value. That value might be in its assets, in its research or prototypes, or in current and future income. Unlike a vehicle where you can determine the value by looking it up, business valuation can be done in many ways and is unique to each business. Accountants can help you both agree on a value. 

As an independent party, a certified public accountant has an obligation to be honest and act in the best interests of their client(s). They are an impartial voice, which can help you and your spouse understand elements of the business and have confidence in things like its valuation or performance. Only with facts and reliable advice can you both negotiate in good faith. 

After Divorce

No matter what you decide to do with the business — cooperate, give it to one party, sell it, or close it — your accountant can help whomever is tasked with executing that decision.

A certified public accountant can assist with transfers of interest or stock, with wrapping up operations or preparing the business for sale, or with figuring out how you will co-run the business as individuals. Public accountants are particularly valuable due to their experience with many other businesses and unusual situations. 

Where to Start

When a family business is involved, the earlier you start looking at its financials and preparing it for negotiations, the better the outcome will be. Start today by meeting with a public accountant in your state.