When one or both spouses own a business, the divorce process can be extremely complex. If you have been investing all your time and money into your business, you should work just as hard to protect your investment. Your best course of action is to prepare early on for all possible outcomes, including the end of your marriage. There are steps you can take prior to starting a business, or prior to getting married, that can prevent problems down the line. If you already own a business, whether shared with your spouse or not, you do not want its future in the hands of a family court judge. Your spouse could end up getting as much as fifty percent of your business in the divorce.
Obtain Legal Guidance
Business owners should have a good working relationship with an experienced lawyer. If you are just starting a business, a lawyer can help you select the optimal legal structure for your business (LLC, corporation, partnership, etc.) The specific legal structure of your business may play an important role in the event of divorce. Or, if you already own a business and have started taking steps toward separation, your lawyer will serve as an objective advocate to put the interests of you and your business first.
Your lawyer can also advise you on putting a buy-sell agreement in place. Also known as a buyout, this is a legally enforceable agreement between business owners that governs what will happen if one of the owners is forced to leave the business. This is an essential legal instrument for family businesses co-owned by a husband and wife. A qualified attorney can help you ensure that other shareholders cannot overly restrict the transfer of shares in the event of divorce. You may also want to consider setting up a trust to own and control your business during divorce litigation or permanently, allowing yourself and your spouse to split the profits of the business following separation.
The advice of a financial or tax professional can also help make optimal decisions regarding your business during the divorce process. It is advisable not to use the same professional that you used during your marriage if you and your spouse were co-owners of the business.
Another way to address division of business assets is through a prenuptial agreement, also called a marital property agreement. This is a legally enforceable agreement signed by both parties prior to a marriage that describes how assets will be divided in the event of divorce. Even if you are already married, you can draw up a similar document called a postnuptial agreement.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Represent Business Owners in Divorce in Maryland
At Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC, we understand that as a business owner, you invest your blood, sweat and tears into your business. That is why you need the most committed, hard working lawyers in your corner. To schedule a consultation with our Towson divorce lawyers, call us today at 443-589-0150 or contact us online. With offices located in Hunt Valley, Pikesville, and Towson, Maryland, we represent clients in Baltimore County, Harford County, Carroll County, and Howard County, including Towson, Essex, Columbia, and Bel Air.