Starting a business is never easy. It takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to take an idea and make it into a success. Even once you become successful, you may push for more and more, always trying to do better. You must want your baby to do well (and support your family).
However, if you are going through a rough patch in your marriage and are worried about divorce, you may also be concerned about your business. You don’t want to lose everything that you have worked so hard for.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tips to protect your business.
One of the best ways to do so is by not involving your spouse in it at all. Though you may have always dreamed of working side by side on a business, the truth is that nothing can close a business down faster than a divorce. Though your spouse may help, the business should be entirely yours (and yours alone).
No matter how little or how much your spouse is involved in your business, he or she will be entitled to part of your business if you end up divorcing. Because of that, it is often easier to avoid the whole situation and work on your business by yourself.
If you had a successful business before getting married, you should get a prenuptial agreement. This is the best way to ensure that, post-divorce, the business is still all yours.
If you are already married, you may want to look into a postnupital agreement. This works like a prenupital agreement, though it takes place after marriage.
That being said, if you are already having problems in your marriage, a postnuptial agreement will not keep you from losing your business.
You should make sure that your business is legal, by making it a partnership or a LLC. Though you can do this on your own, it is a good idea to use a lawyer to make sure that you are fully protected.
You also need a lawyer for the divorce. Though you should never go through a divorce alone, it is even more important when you own a successful business. Not all lawyers are equipped to help business owners through a divorce, so don’t hesitate to ask your lawyer about his or her experience before you choose one to represent you.
That being said, you also need to know how much your business is worth. You need to take a good look at your assets and what your income is. Market value is also important, though you can’t figure out any of that, when your financial records aren’t up-to-date.
You also need to decide what you want to do with your business after the divorce. Do you want to keep the business? If you are in business with your spouse, do you want to buy him or her out and continue to run it? Do you want to sell your half to him or her to continue running it? Do you want to sell it outright? Maybe you are thinking the best option is to just close it and move on. However, you can’t start planning your future if you don’t know what you want from it.
Plan to keep your divorce civil. Too many divorces end up messy and hostile. It can take months or even years to figure out how to divide your lives into two. If you want you and your business to continue to flourish, you need to keep your divorce as easy as possible.
You may even want to try mediation, where both of you can sit down with one lawyer to hammer out the details of your divorce, without ending up in a courtroom.
Then, once it is done, you need to find a way to move on. Too many people let their divorce define the rest of their lives. They just can’t move on.
Though you deserve time to grieve, you also need to pick up the pieces and get back to work! Many businesses end up failing after a divorce simply because of bad decisions that are made by the owners who can’t think clearly. You shouldn’t make any big decisions in the beginning, or you may do more harm than good!
As a business owner, you don’t want to lose your business if something happens to your marriage. For this reason, you should keep your spouse out of it. It is your business and yours alone!
If you already have a business, you should get a prenuptial agreement. If you didn’t get one, a postnuptial agreement is better than nothing.
You are going to need a lawyer if you do get divorced. He or she will help you through the process, so that you can come out on the other side with your business intact (and hopefully still successful). From there, you can decide what you want to do with it.
Previously published on Medium and Vocal.
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