Florida business owners are proud of their created enterprises. . A successful company is built step by step from an entrepreneurial vision linked with sweat equity and sound decision making.
If you are a company principal in the Tampa Bay Area or elsewhere in the state, you want to protect what you have literally created from the ground floor up.
How do you do that? Many business owners understandably spend considerable time and effort focused on strategies to safeguard their companies. They work with legal and financial professionals to protect business assets against rivals and creditors, and to steer clear of litigation and other challenges.
Sometimes, though, they fail to anticipate that the most immediate and dire threat to their company’s continued existence and growth comes from an unparalleled inside source.
Namely, that is their spouse. In a multitude of cases, spouses do nothing but support the enterprises that their partners established prior to marriage, recognizing company assets as their entrepreneurial spouse’s separate property.
In other instances, a business can become ground zero in a divorce-linked property division conflict. One in-depth online article on safeguarding a home business during divorce stresses that things can sometimes “be very messy” for a business owner suddenly involved in a push-and-pull contest involving a created company.
“Divorce is unpredictable,” notes that article. And it adds that, “while no one wants to experience permanent separation, it is good not to incur double losses.”
Put another way: Many impending exes duly acknowledging that their marriages are not salvageable still make strong efforts to save their businesses.
How can a divorcing spouse protect a home business?
Business owners contemplating marriage have hopefully given some timely thought to strategies they might reasonably employ to protect their companies if their unions do not last. Rather than being cynical, a proactive mindset can actually promote civility and a rational outcome in the event that a marriage does fail. Here are a few things that an owner spouse might want to focus on:
- Creation of a prenuptial agreement, which can provide mutually desired clarity surrounding how a business will be construed and treated in any asset-division matter
- Strict separation of business assets and other so-called “marital” property
- Curb on spouse’s material involvement in business matters
- Receptivity during the divorce process to surrendering non-company assets in order to retain control over a business
Of course, things can get a bit complicated in any divorce negotiation involving business-tied property division. The above bulleted list is but a representative sampling of many additional points that might factor into a judicial decision.
If you find as a business owner that you are thinking deeply about your company prior to marriage, it might make sense to have a candid and confidential conversation with a proven family law legal team.