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Birmingham Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > Which Spouse Keeps The Family Restaurant After A Divorce?

Which Spouse Keeps The Family Restaurant After A Divorce?


Operating a small business with your spouse or other members of your family can be a great source of togetherness and prosperity.  It can also cause plenty of stress and conflict.  In particular, operating a restaurant with your family is a 24/7 job.  The decision to close or sell the family restaurant is often a painful one, but it is reassuring to think that you are giving up the family restaurant in order to continue as a family.  Trying to divide a family restaurant in a divorce case, however, is no fun.  Both spouses might be emotionally attached to the restaurant, but no one wants to spend six days per week in a restaurant kitchen with their ex-spouse, so the court usually awards the restaurant to one spouse or the other.  Even then, the parties may disagree about what counts as fair compensation for the spouse who is giving up his or her share of ownership interest in the restaurant.  A Birmingham divorce lawyer can help you and your spouse reach a fair settlement agreement in divorce mediation about dividing the value of the restaurant that you operated together during your marriage.

A Small Business Can Lead to Big Trouble in a Divorce

An immigrant couple moved to Alabama and opened a restaurant together, where they both worked long hours.  Both spouses continued to work in the restaurant full-time even after the parties’ child was born.  In 2013, when the child was about one year old, the wife terminated the husband’s employment at the restaurant and continued to manage the restaurant alone; the husband then took a job as manager of a chain restaurant.  The wife cited her reasons for firing the husband from the family restaurant as misconduct and financial mismanagement; the court’s decision mentions the husband spending business funds on gambling and extramarital affairs.

By the time the parties filed for divorce in 2014, the restaurant was operating at a loss, and the wife admitted that she found the task of managing the restaurant while parenting a young child overwhelming.  Although both parties asked the court to award them possession of the restaurant, the court awarded it to the husband.  The court valued the restaurant at $25,000, and it ordered the husband to pay the wife $22,000, in monthly installments of $1,000, to compensate her for her share of ownership of the restaurant.  The court did not order the husband to pay the wife any additional alimony; presumably, she had found another job by the time the divorce became final.  It did, however, order the husband to pay the wife $500 per month in child support, as the child stayed with the wife from Sunday evening through Friday afternoon each week and spent the weekends with the husband.

Contact Peeples Law About Rebuilding Your Family Business After Divorce

A Birmingham family law attorney can help you keep your family business even after you get divorced.  Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.



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