Divorce can ruin businesses. At a time when your financial resources are pushed to their limits, you now face the possibility of reduced business income. Your spouse might claim ownership of your business pushing you out of a position you worked hard to earn. If you have to sell business assets to pay off your spouse, you may find your business becomes less profitable. Not only do you have personal financial obligations to consider, but you also have responsibilities to your business partners and employees. You probably don't want a business relationship with your soon to be ex-spouse, nor to you want your business to suffer. If you don't move quickly, the uncertainty of who owns the business could destroy your business.
Another situation that can occur is where your business partner gets stuck in a nasty divorce and are forced to withdraw funds from your venture at an inconvenient time. Do you have the funds for this contigency? This could cost you dearly even if you are not the one getting divorced.
A divorce lawyer that thinks strategically can help protect your business interests.
A divorce lawyer that thinks strategically and knows you own a business will recommend you consider a pre-nuptial agreement. It might be a good idea to make it company policy that owners of the business either have pre-nuptial agreements to protect the business or have made other arrangements to protect the business.
If you are considering a pre-nuptial agreement, be sure to hire an experienced lawyer. Courts may not uphold your agreement if the terms of the agreement are considered unconscionable. For example, it is one thing to agree before you get married that you own the business. However, if you then "hire" your spouse without pay, invest your spouse's money in the company or keep revenues in the company instead of paying yourself a salary, the court may decide these terms are unfair to your spouse. A good lawyer will contemplate many such scenarios to make sure your rights are protected and the agreement is fair enough to pass judicial scrutiny. Someone who has been in family law practice for many years will be alert to legal issues that could affect your business interests.
If you are getting a divorce and do not have a pre-nup, consult a lawyer right away. A lawyer who gives you honest advice will let you know the strength of your case, tell you want you need to do to protect your business and help you make decisions that will affect your finances. For example, you may need to decide if it is worth giving your spouse other assets to try to keep you business intact. In divorce proceedings, you need a strategy to protect your business interests and you need it fast.