Starting your own business may have been one of the highlights of your life. As your company continued to grow — and your income with it — you undoubtedly felt more accomplished. Though you may have dealt with some bumps along the way, you have likely become a savvy business person who will do what it takes to protect the best interests of your company.
Of course, you may still end up having to navigate unfamiliar waters when it comes to making sure your business does not suffer unnecessarily. For instance, now that you face divorce, you may worry that your soon-to-be ex-spouse could end up with a portion of the business or that your company could face other detrimental outcomes due to the ending of your marriage.
Precaution is prevention
In a best case scenario, you would have created a prenuptial agreement as a precautionary step to prevent your spouse from having too much claim to the business in the event of divorce. Of course, you may not have created a prenuptial agreement, or at the time of the marriage and creation of the agreement, your business may not have yet existed.
You may also have a greater chance of keeping your business assets separate from the marital assets if you did not use any marital funds or other assets to build or run your company.
Limit your spouse’s claim
Fortunately, even if you did not create a prenuptial agreement, you can still take steps to limit your spouse’s claim to the business. First, you may want to assess how much involvement your spouse has in the company. If the two of you founded and operated the business together, your spouse will obviously have a considerable stake in the company. However, if you founded the business on your own and your spouse had little to no input, you may have a greater chance of limiting his or her claim.
If your divorce has not yet gotten underway, you may want to take steps to record just how little involvement your spouse has.
Value your business
The value of your business will play an important role in divorce proceedings and property division. Therefore, you may want to make sure that you obtain a valuation yourself from a professional valuator in order to have that information when the time comes to use it.
The idea of your business facing detriment because your marriage is coming to an end can understandably seem overwhelming. Fortunately, you can work with your legal counsel to find the best avenues for protecting your company and limiting your spouse’s claim to business assets.