The welfare of the family may be financially dependent upon the health of the family business. In most cases, the collective goal of the family is to keep that enterprise thriving, growing, and profitable. When a family is going through a tough separation or divorce transition, there will be parallel and often intersecting interests: family relationships and financial needs. Juggling business matters, handling a tangle of new emotions, and parenting responsibilities. I’m also there asking for documents, requesting clarification of intentions and instructions and seeking responses to my incessant questions. #1 The Facts, Just the Facts We start with the facts. They can be a perfect data source supported by simple documents providing basic information. Birth certificates, mortgage and bank statements, corporate tax returns. They also upon careful scrutiny can lead us to apparent irregularities, what needs a little more attention. Some data gaps beget more questions and requests for follow-up documents. Once a fact is confirmed by authentic sources, consider it an advance of uncontestable knowledge, until or until proven otherwise. The value of a company or asset can be provided by a formal valuation by a chartered professional. Identifying the proper owner of the vacation property may then allow the process of disposing of it to proceed. #2 Examine the Merits From the discreet pieces of gathered knowledge a composite picture can be developed of what took place, who is involved, and what position or arguments can confidently be put forward based on those facts. If the facts relied upon aren’t confirmed, this weakness requires attention. If the position advanced is without merit because of a lack of a strong factual foundation or the argument doesn’t align with the confirmed facts, then challenge the merits of the position. The merits of a position are the intrinsic qualities or elements which stand unimpeded. If the business valuation shows a decline in value solely due to market forces then the position advanced that the shareholder was not responsible and cannot fund the previous level of support may be considered unimpeachable. An incorrect factual basis will lead to asking if any documentation was relied upon and has not yet been produced, to be provided. If the shareholder asserts that there is a decline in the value based on the internal corporate accountant’s assessment, demand a review by an independent chartered business valuator. #3 Be Reasonable and Open-Minded Listening to both sides can unlock new information. New information not only to satisfy the financial needs may as well start the healing relationships for the long term. Good settlements are said to result in a bittersweet resolution for the spouses. Better resolutions are ones which stepped beyond the numbers and considered the “people” issues. Long term satisfaction with the settlement takes into account future familial relationships and the financial settlements. The Collaborative Approach is one process which takes a holistic approach to families separating or divorcing. Please contact Lorisa Stein directly to learn more.