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Manhattan divorce threatens popular business

Property division can be a tedious and emotional process when any couple decides to call it quits. Co-ownership of a small business can add to the level of conflict in a divorce and dramatically impact the future income and lifestyle of both parties. A Manhattan couple is currently facing these issues as they battle over the future of their vegan ice cream shop.

The couple opened the New York City ice cream shop in 2008 and quickly developed a loyal following. In 2012, the couple divorced. The ex-husband filed papers in January requesting that the business be dissolved. According to court documents, the man claims that his ex-wife is hoarding the profits and making decisions that reduce business income, such as cutting operating hours. He claims he is close to bankruptcy and does not want to be financially responsible for the business.

The woman told reporters that the ice cream shop was her idea and she did all the work. She cut hours to help with her workload. She also stated that her ex-husband has been expensing items through the company, including his rent, even though he does not work in the shop.

The man's lawyer stated that the divorce makes a co-ownership structure untenable, and that they expect a settlement in the dispute. The woman agrees that the couple cannot work together on the business.

Dividing property such as real estate can be difficult in a divorce case, especially if there is disagreement between the two parties involved. Dividing a business is even more difficult, as continued operation may be required to allow one or more parties to pay bills or fund daily life. It is important for anyone involved in a divorce to understand its potential future impact on income and make plans to protect all appropriate interests.

Source: New York Post, "Couple's divorce threatens vegan East Village ice cream shop," Selim Algar, Jan. 28, 2013

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