My husband and I are getting divorced. We are both company directors in a company but he owns most of the shares in the company. He wants me to transfer my shares to him but says my shares only have a nuisance value, as I only own about 5% of the business. He has said he can force me to transfer the shares to him as we signed a shareholder agreement. I can't remember signing the agreement. Does the shareholder agreement make a difference?
When a husband and wife get divorced, they can make financial claims against one another, including claims against a business. The fact that the majority of the shares are held in your husband's name does not matter if the business is a family asset. A family court can take the value of all the shares in the business into account when making a financial court order or making orders in relation to the shares.
You should not transfer your shares to your husband without first getting legal advice from a divorce solicitor. Even if you signed a shareholder agreement, the divorce court has wide-ranging powers in relation to business shares. The court could order a valuation of the shares, and ultimately could order the sale or transfer of your shares or those of your husband.
A number of factors will determine if a court will order the transfer of your shares to your husband and we would need to see you to discuss your individual personal and financial circumstances to give you an idea of the likely financial settlement that might be negotiated or ordered by the court if you cannot reach an agreement.
You may need urgent legal and accountancy advice depending on the date of your separation from your husband.
Divorces involving family businesses and shareholdings can be complicated as it is important that the business and shares are properly valued.
You do need family law advice on the shares and your financial settlement options. We would therefore ask you to call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you. Please call us.
[This question has been successfully answered by our lawyers in a private e-mail]