Business Divorce

Focused on Your Goals

Business divorce is a term lawyers use when partners and owners of small businesses elect to go their separate ways.  This can involve either closing the business and having everyone move on, or having the business continue operations after one or two partners leave.  Either scenario raises multiple questions about money, control, taxes, and future liability.  For business owners who have put years of effort into growing their business, this process often mirrors the emotional turmoil of an actual divorce.

You need an aggressive lawyer to get through this process. It's also imperative to have someone who understands the realities of your business and will not destroy the value you've built.  Frequently, there are disputes over not only who gets what, but also what to do with the assets themselves.  Your lawyer needs to understand the big picture, and that only comes from listening to you.  Too often, we see other firms approach these cases in a cookie cutter manner simply because that's how they've always done it.  That may serve their interests, but it doesn't help yours.

Your goals and needs always guide our process. When we listen to what our clients actually want, and look at the business as a whole, we find that lots of different options can present themselves.  Often, clients don't know what's possible, so our conversations help guide them towards finding their own goals.  Does everything need to be sold, or do any of the owners want to keep some of the assets for themselves (called a "distribution in kind")?  Will the business be continuing on, or will the former owners start new entities from scratch?  How will the daily operations be managed while this process takes place?  If there are employees, the questions become even more involved when you consider shifting allegiances, payroll, retirement accounts, and confidentiality concerns.  We've had cases where the parties came to us with nearly everything mutually agreed to in advance, and others where partners who didn't fight for 25 years all of a sudden couldn't agree on who gets to keep the typewriter.

At Danziger Shapiro & Leavitt, what differentiates us is our ability to remain focused on the big picture.  In a multi-million dollar business divorce, we kept our client from getting bogged down in that emotional battle over the typewriter, and got him enough money to buy a few hundred new ones.  Your lawyer should be an aggressive, strong advocate for your interests, but his or her ego should not create or expand conflicts that are not necessary.  Just like in a marital divorce, if your lawyer doesn't know how to separate the relevant problems from the irrelevant ones, this process is going to take much longer and cost you a lot more money than it should. Our priority is always to protect you and your business interests.

Our Clients

A point of pride at our firm is that we are frequently hired by other attorneys and law firms in the region to represent their interests when going through a business divorce.  We take it as a vote of confidence that other trial lawyers, who have seen both our work and that of our competitors close up, choose to hire our firm to represent their own interests.

Some of our prior clients include:

  • Representing an insider buyout of a multi-generational family manufacturing business
  • Representing attorneys in law firm dissolution or separations from their ongoing law firms
  • Representing real estate investors in ending their long term investment partnerships
  • Representing developers in existing from development projects
  • Representing shareholders in an insurance company going through an insider buyout
  • Representing a business in litigation to remove a minority partner
Client Reviews
Adam has been my corporate attorney for over 10 years. He is extremely professional and knowledgeable. He efficiently moves through the judicial system and always keeps the best interest of his client in the foreground. Janet
We hired Adam to represent us for a patent dispute. He was excellent from the very beginning. He was thorough, detailed, honest, forthright, succinct, and available to us for questions at all times. Needless to say he achieved the best outcome we could have hoped for, and I cannot recommend him highly enough. I only wish I could have given him a check mark on all of the attributes listed on LinkedIn, but it would only allow 3. Matt
All of us at Be a Part of the Conversation are indebted to Doug Leavitt and the staff at Danziger Shapiro & Leavitt for their guidance in helping us to establish and grow our nonprofit organization. Doug has been an invaluable resource, providing insight and understanding from the very beginning. In addition to answering our endless questions, he is also incredibly proactive – tirelessly working to ensure that our organization is moving forward in the best light possible. I honestly do not know where we would be today without the support and generosity of Doug and the team at Danziger Shapiro & Leavitt. Kim
We retained Doug to help us in a business dispute regarding several investments we had in restaurants and real estate in Cape May. Doug proved to be skilled in both litigation and negotiation, as well as reducing the settlement to writing, which required a thoughtful approach and high attention to detail to protect out interests because we had to do take back financing. The security agreements had to be carefully written so we could take back the restaurant and IP if the need arose- which it did! Thankfully everything was in place and Doug was able to get everything back and we came out unharmed. It is clear to us that Doug truly cares about his clients. Unless something like this happens to you, you wouldn't know how important it is to have the right attorney. We do. Brian
I am an officer in a Civil Engineering firm in New Jersey with over 45 employees and have retained many attorneys in the past. However, Doug Leavitt has helped my firm in reviewing and developing new corporate documents and professional agreements. Doug is an excellent attorney who is very personable and knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with. Paul