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How To Divide The Family Business In A Divorce

how to divide the family business during divorce

Though divorce has many implications, both emotional and practical, one of its key considerations is the equitable division of assets. Oftentimes, determining how to divide the family’s assets in a manner that satisfies both parties lengthens the divorce process, especially when one of the assets is a family-owned business.

Splitting the family business in a divorce can introduce a new set of challenges to an already complex process. Ultimately, each party must decide their intentions for their ongoing involvement in the business, as well as the best way to divide the business financially.

The first step is determining the business’s worth by getting a formal appraisal from an unbiased third party. Once a value has been established, couples who are in the divorce process typically have three options for dividing the business.


One Spouse Keeps the Business

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Getting All Family Business Members On The Same Page With Tech

This article is part of America’s Entrepreneurs, a Next Avenue initiative made possible by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and EIX, the Entrepreneur and Innovation Exchange, and was originally published here.

When you’re in a family business, it’s essential that the generations work seamlessly together. That’s especially important when it comes to technology, which is, in essence, the tools and vocabulary of any thriving business.

So if you plan to introduce new business tools to other family members at your company, follow tips for a smooth and successful implementation:

Introduce the new tool by digging into the practicality of it.

For example, if one of you plans to travel in the next few months, but will still help run the business, a chat tool will make it easy to stay connected and on top of duties.

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5 Tips for Running a Successful, Drama-free Family Business


Here is a short article by Renee Morad about the founders of Womaze, a company run by four women in the same family between the ages of 17 and 52. Here they shared how they make their family business efficiently and smoothly work.

Running a business is difficult enough.

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Letter From The US: Trillions at Stake as Millennials Settle In


Boomers are retiring in droves. Generation X is not far behind. Millennials are taking charge of family fortunes. Now what?

Over the next 40 years, $30 trillion in financial and non-financial assets will pass from Baby Boomers to their heirs in North America,

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Stepping Up: What Family Business Leaders Can Do After They Step Down


Dennis Jaffe published an article in Forbes about what family business leaders can do after they have stepped down from their businesses. He also shared valuable and essential insights about this topic which can surely help family businesses thrive and prosper even better. 

Amory “Amo” Houghton Jr. followed his father and grandfather to become the 5th generation to lead their family business, Corning Incorporated (formerly Corning Glassworks). But unlike many family business leaders, he stepped down at age 60, handing over the leadership to a younger family member, as was required by the family’s retirement and succession agreement. This is not what is expected from family business leaders. The more common expectation is to see an 80-year-old patriarch vowing never to step down.

Most aging family business leaders have two dominant desires that are often in conflict. On the one hand, they want to pass the business on to their children. At the same time, they like what they are doing and want to keep doing it as long as they can. But staying on too long can endanger their first desire: successful transition to the next generation.

Why do family business leaders want to stay on so long — way past the average age of retirement? The reasons are often more personal than business-related. They enjoy the perks of leadership, and they have clearly mastered the job. Indeed, they can do it in their sleep. Leaving can look to them like jumping off a steep cliff. They simply don't know what they would do for a second or third act in their lives. Therefore, they want to remain in their seductive comfort zone rather than seek out something new where they might be less successful or important.

Today, life expectancy is greater than ever. If a family leader stays in place for a lifetime, he (or increasingly she) will leave behind two or more adult generations of family members. Their children will reach their 60s, and their grandchildren their 40s — prime times for their careers. Staying on is not helpful to them. Witness the painful place in the family hierarchy of Prince Charles as his mother continues to serve the UK admirably and his children come into their own. This middle-generation dilemma of endless waiting arises in too many family businesses. The rising generation is ready with new ideas and youthful energy. If they have to wait too long, the most talented will seek opportunities elsewhere.

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Podcast: The Changing Face of Family Business

CPA Australia are great supporters of family businesses and keep ensuring their members have adequate information to serve them well. We recently recorded this podcast ("The Changing Face of Family Business - It’s Not What You Think It Is") as part of their ongoing podcast series.

Family businesses are the oldest and most frequent business ownership model in the world. By nature, they have to be both nimble and dynamic to survive. In this podcast, David and Kim Harland discuss the changes they are noting in the family business sector and what proactive family businesses, and their advisers, are doing to benefit from those changes.

David Harland FCPA (FPS) is the Executive Chairman of FINH and is a leader in the family business advisory field. He provides family business clients with expert advice on such challenges as succession and transition planning, family governance strategies, raising liquidity and sourcing capital.

Kim Harland is the Managing Director of Insights, a provider of customised online resources to family business. The Insights team understand that specialised tools and information play a vital role in managing family businesses risks and improving the longevity, growth and most importantly, the sustainability of each and every family business.To find out more and listen to the podcast just click this link!


2:26 – what is a family business?4:40 – examples of family businesses from around the globe6:50 – five common characteristics of a family business10:25 – challenges that commonly occur in family business11:50 – how are family businesses changing?17:20 – what are smart family businesses doing to plan for the future?21:55 – succession planning for family businesses23.30 – if a family business has survived for 50 years what would you advise them to do?

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How The 4 Yuengling Sisters Manage The Family Business

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This amazing and insightful article was written by Hilary Sheinbaum. Read on as they each share their best tips and advice when it comes to getting along with co-workers who are also family members. 

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Three Reasons Family Cohesions Matters for Family Businesses


Small and family businesses can capitalise on deep bonding and long-term focus to improve real performance.

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The Importance of Innovation in Your Family Business - The Nutella Story.


It’s not possible for your family business to solely survive by persistently doing what you’ve always been doing - simply because it has worked in the past. One way to boost your longevity chances is to practise innovation.

What follows is a fantastic example of how innovation not only ensured long-term success for one family business, but created a global phenomenon along the way.

The Nutella Example

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Podcast – Showcasing Our Women in Family Business E-book


Russ Haworth ( linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/russellhaworth/) records an amazing weekly podcast for family businesses.

We recently recorded this conversational podcast with him showcasing our women in family business e-book.

We discussed:

The changing roles of women in family businessesThe benefits family businesses can gain from engaging women in leadership rolesThe challenges women in family businesses face (and how to overcome)Some of the comments from the seven women featured in the bookAnd we both wrangled with that question featured in the book “What would you tell your 25-year old self?”.

You can listen to the podcast here: http://fambizpodcast.libsyn.com/website/ep-25-women-in-family-business

And you can download the E-book here: http://www.insights.org.au/women-in-family-business

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New Year’s Resolutions for Your Family Business


A new year is a great time to reflect, refocus and of course, make resolutions. Traditionally, we do this on a personal level but why not consider it for your family business too? Here are a few areas to help get you started.

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4 Top Tips from Successful Women in Family Businesses

Family businesses account for around 70% of all businesses in Australia. And it seems women are leading the way, doing far better in leadership and management positions in family businesses than those in the non-family business sector. For example, 80% of family-owned businesses have at least one female director whereas only 17.7% of companies in the FTSE 100 have female directors.

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Guest Blog by Steve Legler - Enough for Rockefeller, Not for St Augustine

How Much is Enough for You?

Many family business leaders eventually confront the reality that simply doing more of the same to get more and more wealth is not the best use of their efforts.  When this happens, what should they do next instead?  It's different for everyone, but shifting their focus to the questions relating to the proper transition of all their family wealth to the next generation is often a good way to move forward and begin to look at what's truly important to leave a lasting legacy.- Steve Legler

I was reading a book about Coaching Questions* and I spotted a couple of complementary nuggets that I had a bit of trouble fitting together in my brain.

John D. Rockefeller

The first interesting notion came from a man whose name is likely familiar to most readers, John D. Rockefeller, and his response to the oft-heard question “How Much Is Enough?”

He reportedly replied “Just a little bit more”. What remains unclear is the tone with which it was delivered.

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The 3 P’s of Family Business Education and How They Improve Your Business

You won’t get anywhere without an education!’

It’s catchphrase countless parents have used over time and rightly so. But when it comes to your own family business, do you apply the same line of thinking? In this post, we explore some key ways family business education can enrich your working life and family.

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Our Latest Tool- Women in Family Business E-Book

At Insights we are committed to producing resources that equip and inspire the families behind family owned businesses to increase their effectiveness and success.

Our latest offering is an e-book presenting family business through the eyes of the women who lead and work in them – across diverse ages, cultures, roles and ownership models.

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Family Business 101: Are You Ready for Family Meetings?


At Insights, we know first-hand that communication is at the heart of every successful family business. Many families dread the thought of a formal meeting, but we greatly admire those families that take bold, decisive action to encourage healthy communication.

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Five Women in Family Business Who Inspire Us

This month we wanted to highlight some truly influential women in family businesses. From Australian start-up founders to multinational directors, their stories are both unique and inspirational. 

Sue Ismiel founded waxing company, Nad’s, after experimenting with hair-removal formulas at her kitchen table in 1991. It has since expanded into a $42 million empire and she aims to list the business within two years. After recently appointing a CEO to handle the day-to-day running of the business, Sue has been freed up to concentrate on philanthropy through her foundation, Sue Ismiel & Daughters. When her three daughters inherit the company, she will be one of the first Australian female business founders to hand over the reins to a second generation of women.

Vanessa Katsanevakis took over as director of Sussex Taps from her ailing father, after her brother turned down a position at the company. Although she was in her late twenties at the time and entering a male dominated high-end tapware business, she discovered she could empathise with their key demographic – women aged between 35 and 50. Vanessa has her own distinctive vision for Sussex, centred on bespoke customisation, innovation, beautiful design and the expression of individual tastes.

Like many others, Caroline Lubbers joined her mother’s hospitality company after gaining valuable high-end experience outside of the family business. She is passionate about empowering women to develop their own leadership style and, together with an NGO, has set up Equipoise, an international network of women working in the cocoa and chocolate industries. Caroline now has a role on the board of her global family business as well as continuing to run her social enterprise.

Michael Hill International, retail jewellers based in New Zealand, handed the reins over to daughter Emma Hill in 2015, a decision taken in part to retain its sense of family-run romance and soul. She was groomed for leadership for many years, serving as deputy chair in 2011, and is now the chairwoman of the business with an estimated worth of over $600 million. Keen to make her mark on the company, Emma launched Emma & Roe in 2014, a sideline label specialising in interchangeable jewellery. It has expanded to 20 stores across Australia and New Zealand, and Emma hopes it will eventually grow to the size of Michael Hill, or bigger.

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Stuck? Not Progressing Your Family Business Challenge?

“You do not need the best possible organization while you are alive; you need the best possible organization that can survive.”

Every family business faces challenges. Some are easily resolved, but others, especially those involving several family members, can take years to make headway on.

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Family Business, Where Are You Taking This Rocket You’ve Built?

Unfortunately, many families become so involved in the day-to-day running of their business that they lose sight of their long-term aspirations.

Investing the time to develop and maintain a shared vision is crucial, as it ensures there are coherent beliefs in place to unify your family and business for the long term.

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Women in Family Businesses - Invisible Giants


The importance of women in family business cannot be understated. From the late ‘90s to 2015, the amount of women running family companies has quintupled.

Despite this progress, less than a quarter of the average family firm’s executive team is composed of women. While women wait for greater acceptance as equals in the business world, many are hard at work behind the scenes.

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Contact Info GPO Box 1784 Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4001 | Tel: +61 (7) 3067 3473 | coaching@insights.org.au