Divorce is hardly
easy on anyone, but it can be especially difficult for couples who co-own a
business. Considering the employee family and the fact that owners rely
on their business for income, it's understandable why spouses feel
stressed about the future of their business and their employees.
If you're thinking about divorce and you own a business, you need to
think ahead. By staying calm and taking precautionary measures early,
it can make a stressful situation a lot less traumatic, plus you'll
know what to expect.
1.Get a prenuptial agreement.
With a prenuptial agreement in effect, it's a lot easier to manage
your emotions and focus on logic. By drafting such an agreement when you're
rational, you have a "conversation" with your fiancé
about what should happen if the worst occurs.
When drafting a prenup, make sure that each of you have your own legal
representation. It's not unheard of for a judge to discard a prenup
if one of the parties didn't have an attorney when the prenup was created.
Discuss the fate of the business early.
Once you have decided to divorce, bring up what will happen to the business.
Do this before filing for divorce, or spreading the "news" to
your employees. Each of you may have to compromise in one or more ways
to protect the business. So, compile a list of agreeable options before
you have the first meeting with a divorce lawyer.
Work with attorneys who empathize.
We suggest finding lawyers who understand your business concerns. Often,
divorcing couples don't want to shut down operations, they want to
save their company and their employees' jobs. Work with an expert
divorce team who is committed to helping you find solutions so your business
doesn't have to close.
Consider collaborative divorce and mediation.
Consider the options of a
collaborative divorce or
mediation – both methods involve parties meeting in a nonconfrontational matter
to negotiate a fair settlement. Instead of a high-conflict divorce, these
methods address all divorce-related issues, including the future of the
business, in a respectful and constructive manner.
Planning head, foresight, and the willingness to explore options together
are all critical to helping a family business survive divorce.
Los Angeles divorce lawyer from Claery & Hammond, LLPfor a free consultation!