Gillian Crandles, a partner at Turcan Connell in Glasgow is a collaborative lawyer with experience of dealing with high value business protection and exposure to marital breakdown claims.
“The sort of work we tend to be involved in tends to be relatively high net worth individuals and people who own and operate their own company.
“Where both spouses are involved in a business it is a different matter. If it is only one [party] it tends to be harder to resolve because the other partner doesn’t have the same emotional attachment to the business, doesn’t see it as a company that’s been built up from scratch.
“If the parties, as well as having been spouses, have been partners in business you tend to find both have that sort of emotional investment in the business.”
She adds: “Collaborative law can be used, if everybody is going to be mature about it. Marriages come to an end but business will continue and sensible discussion must be held.
“A single joint expert can be brought in to offer figures and valuations. With forethought, pitfalls to look out for are a spouse being introduced to a business as a partner, director, shareholder – perhaps for tax reasons, perhaps on very well meant advice from an accountant at a different stage of life.
“That creates ‘matrimonial property’ that otherwise wouldn’t have been there to share.
“Unromantic though it may be, you need to have one eye on what happens if things go wrong. At least take preliminary advice.
“The best protection you could have is a prenuptial agreement – or indeed a postnuptial agreement if a big change has happened during the marriage.