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Ugly Breakup

The ravages of divorce can wreck your business. Here's how to avoid financial disaster.

This story appears in the January 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Think the hit you took in the market last year was bad? How about this for a sucker punch: Just as your starts picking up, you get a love letter from your spouse's attorney telling you that your is over. Depending on what the judge decides, you may have to kiss your house, your 401(k) plan and even your company goodbye.

For many entrepreneurs, this kind of heartbreak can become all too real. And whether you own 100 percent of your business or your unhappy spouse is also your business partner, you may find yourself having to sell assets or take on debt to break up the company you worked so hard to build. Even after the pain of the subsides, it may take years to dig out of this financial hole.

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