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.
Contact a Los Angeles divorce lawyer from Claery & Hammond, LLPfor a free consultation!