If you are a business owner and facing divorce, you may have concerns as to how the Court will deal with your business when trying to place a valuation on it or on your share. Valuing your business will be a very important stage of the matrimonial proceedings, writes Carla Fraser of Belfast-based law firm, Edwards & Co Solicitors.
In some cases it will be sufficient to ask the business accountant to prepare a valuation and in other cases it will be necessary to obtain a forensic analysis of the business.
If a forensic analysis is needed, the Court will expect both spouses to agree, as far as possible, on instructing a “single joint expert”, i.e. a forensic accountant, independent of both spouses, who will provide an impartial valuation of the business. The use of a single joint expert in cases of divorce is to avoid each party engaging with their own expert, who will likely come up with different figures depending upon who they are instructed by, resulting in the Court having to schedule a ‘valuation hearing’ to resolve the difference in valuations obtained. These hearings are expensive, and entirely avoidable if agreement on whom to jointly engage can be taken at an early stage.
Once a valuation of the business is agreed, this will then help both legal teams in moving forward with negotiations by considering it alongside, and in some cases offsetting it against the value of the other assets involved.
The Family and Matrimonial Department in Edwards & Co. Solicitors has extensive experience in dealing with businesses in the wake of separation and divorce. We work closely with all business clients to minimise any impact separation or divorce may have on their businesses. If you are a business owner and would like some more information on the impact divorce may have, please do not hesitate to contact Julie Tierney or Carla Fraser at our office.