Divorce can be a challenging and emotionally charged experience for any couple. But what happens when the couple are also partners in a family business? Things can get complicated very quickly, and with emotions running high, rash decisions can sometimes be made in the heat of the moment that come back to haunt one or both parties in a divorce. This is where it is hugely important to make smart choices around your choice of legal representation. Of course, you want the services of the best divorce lawyer to represent you. But a specialist family law practice might not have the business law smarts to negotiate the dissolution of a business partnership as well as a marital one. Clearly, if the marriage has broken down to the extent that a couple is seeking a divorce, it is unlikely that their business relationship would be able to continue. In South Africa the number of husband/wife entrepreneurs is significant. According to a survey conducted by Family Business United in 2018, approximately 78% of family businesses in South Africa are run by married couples or partners. This survey does not provide a specific number of married couples who are business partners in South Africa, it does suggest that a significant proportion of family businesses in the country are owned and operated by married couples. In my own firm here in Cape Town we have data that certainly corroborate this figure.
We have close to a hundred staff here at BDP Attorneys. Our team of top lawyers are not just the best divorce lawyers in Cape Town, they’re among the best corporate and business lawyers in the country too.
Dividing assets and determining ownership of a family business can be a complex legal matter that requires expertise in both family and commercial law. Choosing a multi-disciplined law firm like ours, with extensive experience in both areas of law can offer several benefits.
First and foremost, a multi-disciplined law firm with experience in both family and commercial law can offer a holistic and comprehensive approach to handling the legal aspects of a divorce. This means that the law firm can handle all legal issues related to divorce, including the division of assets, property settlements, and custody disputes. Importantly a multi-disciplined law firm like ours can also provide guidance and support in resolving any business-related legal issues that may arise during the divorce
Another benefit of choosing a multi-disciplined law firm with extensive business experience is that it can offer insights into the legal implications of dividing a family business. The lawyers can help the couple understand the legal rights and responsibilities associated with owning and operating a family business. They can also provide guidance on how to protect the business and ensure its continued success during and after the divorce.
A multi-disciplined law firm can also offer flexibility in addressing the legal needs of the couple. For instance, if one of the partners in the family business has more experience or knowledge of the business, we would law assign a top lawyer with expertise in commercial law to handle the business-related aspects of the divorce. Similarly, if there are disputes relating to childcare or maintenance, we would assign a skilled lawyer with expertise in family law to handle those issues with sensitivity and understanding.
Finally, choosing a multi-disciplined law firm with extensive business experience can save time and money for the couple. A law firm with expertise in both family and commercial law can provide a more streamlined approach to handling the legal aspects of divorce. This can help to reduce legal costs and avoid unnecessary delays in the divorce proceedings.
Divorce is a trying time for everyone involved. Getting the right skills in your corner when a divorce is further complicated by a shared business partnership is when you should think about your choice of representation. A specialist divorce lawyer might not be the best choice for you in this situation. Your legal team should be able to provide a comprehensive approach to handling all legal issues related to the divorce, offer insights into the legal implications of dividing a family business, provide flexibility in addressing legal needs, and save you time and money.
It is essential to choose a reputable law firm that is big enough to provide the necessary legal support and small enough to offer personal guidance and attention during this difficult time.