If you operate your own business or practice, your spouse may want a share of it in your divorce. They may feel entitled to its earnings, since they were part of your household income. Or you might have included the practice in your prenuptial agreement.

Your spouse may already own a share in your practice, which could complicate your divorce. But whether they do or not, you can follow these steps to make sure you reach a fair settlement of its ownership.

When your spouse has an existing share in your practice

Depending on how amicable your divorce is, you may be OK with co-owning your practice with your spouse. If they practice alongside you professionally, this could make sense. But if your divorce is contentious, you have the option of buying out your spouse’s share. You must first value the business through an impartial third-party assessor. They will determine its fair price without interference. You can then buy your spouse’s share out through a cash sale. Or you can finance the buyout through a bank loan or from a loan through a third-party lender.

When your spouse demands a share in your practice

Your spouse may consider your practice a lucrative asset. And they could hope it will provide them financial security if they’re not working. You may have opened your practice during your marriage. Or it may have grown substantially in value then. If so, the practice or the value of its growth become marital property. If not, then your spouse may not have access to your practice as part of their settlement.

You may worry about how your divorce will affect the ownership of your practice. No matter how amicable the process is, you’ll want to protect what’s likely your greatest asset. Working with a family law professional can help you create a plan to hold on to your practice.