Americans are marrying later in life than they once did. This matters because many of them are coming into marriages further along into their careers or with their own businesses in tow.
As you’re likely aware, some of the most complex property division disputes arise the more assets or money is on the table — and that’s especially true when there’s a family business involved.
Did you take these steps pre-marriage to protect your assets?
You may be able to keep any business assets for yourself if you were keen on adding them to your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
If you were proactive in drafting your business operating agreement and included a clause prohibiting your spouse from taking an ownership role in the business if you divorced, then your spouse may be unable to stake a claim to your company. Many business owners may include a clause in their operating agreement stating that their spouse is only entitled to a percentage of their business if they split.
What should you do if you didn’t take those steps?
What if, however, you didn’t take these precautions? Well, dividing the business may sometimes seem inevitable — but you may still have options.
You may be able, for example, to offer your spouse other assets in exchange for maintaining your full rights to your business. You may be able to offer a cash payout or additional assets to facilitate this exchange. Keeping your spouse as a shareholder without voting rights may also be an option, and buying out your spouse’s interest through a structured payment plan could be another.
How to proceed in dividing your business and other complex assets
Property division discussions can quickly spiral out of control. This is especially the case when your spouse feels like they have a right to stake a claim to valuable assets such as a business that they didn’t help grow. An attorney can advise you of steps you can take to protect your financial interests during divorce.