Protecting a Business From the Adverse Effects of Divorce

Every small business owner understands the value of purchasing sufficient insurance coverage to protect an enterprise from legal judgments for everything from delivery vehicle accidents and fires to employee injuries and intellectual property disputes. But a recent poll by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company reveals that six of ten business owners have not taken steps to insulate their businesses in the event of divorce.

In the absence of special measures, business assets can be just one more item to be divided during the divorce process. Complex asset division of real estate holdings, pensions, securities and other financial instruments usually requires considerable effort and compromise from both sides. But division of the value of a hard-earned and closely held business can severely impact its survival, leave it temporarily rudderless, and place significant demands on partners, employees and other stakeholders.

A business may be divisible as part of the marital estate even if one spouse is not formally named as an owner. But there are many common sense measures that one can take to ensure that a business survives dissolution of a marriage. One smart strategy is to create a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that explicitly removes the business from the marital estate, or precisely defines each spouse's stake. Well considered business entity designations can also make an enterprise less vulnerable to future uncertainty.

Complex Assets Require Detailed Advice

Whether your business was launched prior to your marriage or grew under the collaboration of both spouses, a consultation with an experienced family law attorney can help you protect your future interests. As every business owner knows, a solid foundation for growth is one key to ongoing success.

You can also learn a great deal about the implications of divorce on other financial matters. In addition to child and spousal support, marital dissolution has a significant impact on issues of taxation and division of debts and other obligations. A divorce lawyer can help you understand your legal options whether you are about to be married or are contemplating separation.