If you own a business and your marriage has fallen apart, then you will likely be dealing with a high asset divorce. Such divorces can be extremely complicated and filled with bitter court battles, especially if the spouse of the business owner decides that they should be entitled to a portion of it. In a state like Florida, which is an equitable property state, a divorce settlement could hurt a business owner if they don’t have legal precautions already in place.
There are a couple of legal options for business owners and these options include postnuptial and prenuptial agreements. Deciding to use a legal contract can be a delicate matter for a couple so it is important for it to be approached in the right way and to assure the spouse that it is merely a safeguard for each party.
The use of any legal contract should be done with both spouses or spouses-to-be having separate legal representation. If there is no contract in place, then it may create a real legal mess if that couple later divorces because the spouse could ask for, and be granted, a significant portion of the business in question.
Divorce legal issues can take months to resolve and so it is always a good idea to set legal precautions in place to avoid a lengthy divorce proceeding. When someone owns a business, it may be a good idea for them to meet with an experienced family law attorney to discuss how they can protect their hard work. The attorney should be able to provide them with several legal options and guidance in how a contract should be drafted and processed.
Source: Entrepreneur, “Why Rupert Murdoch’s Divorce Is a Wakeup Call for Business Owners,” Leah Ingram, June 17, 2013