If you are a business owner that had the foresight to visit an attorney prior to getting married or starting your business, you were likely able to take precautionary measures that would protect your business interests in the event of a divorce.
Some of these measures include:
- a prenuptial agreement, which determines what part of the business, if any, will become marital property;
- incorporation of your business, which creates a separate legal entity that owns all company assets; and
- the establishment of a Domestic Asset Protection Trust, so you can transfer ownership of your separate property, including your business, into a separate trust.
If you didn’t take these measures, however, and are in a marriage that’s headed for divorce, there are a few things you should do immediately.
#1: Seek the expertise of an experienced divorce attorney right away.
A seasoned divorce attorney will help you to understand and navigate the complicated process of dividing business assets so that you can plan your next steps, determine the value of the business and how to divide your business assets, and continue to run a thriving business, both during and post-divorce.
#2: Consider getting a postnuptial agreement.
Postnuptial agreements are entered into after you’re already married. Like a prenuptial agreement, you can protect your assets, including your business, and set out how your business will be divided in the event of a divorce.
Keep in mind, in order to enter into a postnuptial agreement, you will need to provide your spouse full financial disclosure with regards to your business. Even still, it’s better to have some protection in place than nothing at all. Also, postnuptial agreements may not be effective if they are created too close in time to when someone in the marriage files for divorce.
#3: Refrain from commingling marital assets with separate business assets.
Don’t pay your business expenses with money from your personal accounts and vice versa. If you do this, your business assets may no longer be considered separate – In Nevada, community property is split with your spouse 50/50.
#4: Don’t give up half your business, just to get your divorce over.
If you’re frustrated and simply want to hurry the divorce process along, you may make decisions that are not in your best financial interest. If you split the business and your spouse gets half, consider whether you will be able (or want) to work with your ex as a business partner. There are alternatives, so take your time, talk with your lawyer, and evaluate your options.
Pintar Albiston’s family law lawyers have the skills and expertise to help guide you through your divorce, protect your rights and financial interests, and reach the best settlement possible. If you’re a business owner contemplating or facing imminent divorce, call 702-685-5255 to schedule a consultation.
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