If you are the owner of a small business, chances are, you may have invested a great deal of time and money into making your company successful. After all this effort, you probably don't want to see your company come to harm, but planning for certain life scenarios can be challenging at best.
If you and your spouse have decided to part ways, you might be wondering how the outcome of your divorce will affect your company. While divorce can be a stressful and daunting process, it doesn't necessarily have to spell the end for your business.
Taking steps to protect a business during divorce
When facing divorce as the owner of a business, you may face several difficult decisions, each of which could have an impact on your future. The options that will be available to you during divorce proceedings may depend on a variety of variables, some of which may include the following:
- Type of property: If you started the company prior to your marriage, it may retain its separate identity throughout the process, thus allowing you to retain possession of it. However, if you co-mingle the business with marital assets in any way, as least a portion of the company may be marital property.
- Value of company: Even if you start the business prior to marriage, if it increases in value during the relationship, the amount of this increase may be marital property. If your spouse takes an active role in the success of the company, he or she may also deserve a portion of it during legal proceedings.
- Ability to negotiate: If your company, or a portion thereof, is marital property, you might be able to relinquish your rights of ownership over other assets, such as a home, in exchange for sole possession of the business.
- Prenuptial agreement: If you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement, this arrangement may dictate how to handle your business interests during divorce. However, this agreement must be fair and signed by each party voluntarily, or it might not uphold during legal proceedings.
To help you prepare for negotiations, it may be beneficial to gain a general understanding of Missouri state divorce laws and how they might apply to your situation. However, with little experience in the area, this can be a daunting task, and seeking guidance from someone with extensive knowledge in such matters is advisable.
Obtaining knowledgeable advice
Regardless of how you approach it, the end of a marriage can be a stressful experience. With numerous aspects to cover, you may feel somewhat intimidated by the process. Fortunately, you don't have to go through this alone, and you might find it beneficial to seek advice on the options available to you early in the process. By obtaining guidance prior to entering negotiations, you could become much more prepared to pursue a favorable outcome during divorce proceedings and protect the future of your company.