STRATEGIC ADVOCACY FOR BUSINESS DISPUTES – TORONTO BUSINESS LITIGATION LAWYERS
Family Business Dispute Lawyers
Separation Divorce Business Dispute
Family Business Claims Lawyers
Lawyers for Family Business Breakups
Divorce and Family Business Lawyers
Many businesses in Canada are family businesses or have evolved from family businesses. Family businesses present many unique challenges as they grow, as key members of the company or partnership leave the family business, or when personal relationships of the key members of the family business change or deteriorate, through separation, divorce or estrangement.
Sometimes the loss of a stabilizing senior member from the family business, caused by death or retirement, may be a catalyst for long standing hostilities to surface within the operation of the family business.
Many businesses in Canada are family businesses or have evolved from family businesses. Family businesses present many unique challenges as they grow, as key members of the company or partnership leave the family business, or when personal relationships of the key members of the family business change or deteriorate. Divorce and separation can have serious impact upon family-owned and family-run businesses, whether incorporated companies or partnerships. Sometimes the loss of a stabilizing senior member from the family business, caused by death or retirement, may be a catalyst for long standing hostilities to surface within the operation of the family business.
Changes in a family business and the challenges presented by change can often result in legal disputes between interested parties. Family business disputes are often be protracted, expensive, and disruptive, and may even result in the sale, division or winding up of the family business.
Impact of Separation and Divorce on Family Businesses
Complex questions arise in the division of property and assets when dealing with a family business during a separation or divorce. The value of the family business is included in the equalization of net family property in family law proceedings . Tough decisions need to be made about the continued management and control of the family business after separation and divorce, including whether the spouses choose continued joint management, a buy-out by one spouse or the dissolution of the business. If there is no pre-existing shareholder agreement, this further complicates the division of property and /or the exit strategies.
In some cases, the remedies for harm to a shareholder in a family business is the statutory oppression remedy under the Ontario Business Corporations Act or the Canada Business Corporations Act. If a spouse has caused, or is causing harm to a corporation, this can require consideration of each of family law remedies and also the civil remedies achieved through a so-called derivative action commenced in the name of the corporation, which may be available under the Ontario Business Corporations Act or the Canada Business Corporations Act.
Clients in these unique circumstances can benefit from having both an experienced family law lawyer and an experienced business dispute lawyer on their team. Gilbertson Davis LLP’s family business and divorce team of lawyers can offer that advice and representation.
Roles of Family Members in Family Businesses
Disputes often arise even when a family business succeeds or grows, since those family member involved at the earlier stages may re-assess their positions in light of the success and seek to capitalize on their early involvement.
Majority, minority, or equal family members often find themselves in disputes with each other in a way which may wrongfully obstruct the operations and growth of the family business, or which wrongfully seeks to “squeeze out” or oppress opposing interests, requiring prompt and agile legal response.
Family Business Disputes – Examples
We can assist in providing prompt and cost-effective advice relating to:
Why Choose Gilbertson Davis LLP?
Gilbertson Davis LLP has experienced family law and business dispute lawyers, who have acted for companies of all sizes, including, family businesses, start-ups and closely held corporations. A lawyer at Gilbertson Davis LLP was a member of the faculty for the Osgoode Professional development program Shareholder Litigation and the Closely-Held Company.
It is important to obtain prompt and effective legal representation, before these issues become significant, since these disputes may dramatically impact the stability of the family business while they remain outstanding. Delay may also impact upon the nature and extent of urgent court ordered remedies available which concern obtaining and preserving records and evidence, preserving or maintaining the status quo of control (or otherwise), and the freezing of assets of the family business and access to them in appropriate circumstances.
If you own, operate or are involved in a family business, or are a shareholder, director, officer, partner, or employee of a family business with a legal dispute contact us for an initial consultation.