You invested endless amounts of time, energy, and financial resources into your business. Division of property is a time-consuming and highly stressful component of any divorce, and business ownership comprises a particularly complex facet of that process. Laws vary from state to state, and you and your spouse may not agree on who has more of a right to the business. The way you go about this process will affect your livelihood for years to come, so getting started on your strategy today is crucial.
Here are six key strategies for business owners facing divorce:
- Plan early. There are many ways you may protect your business ahead of time. One example is a postnuptial agreement. No couple marries with the intention of getting a divorce, so this may require a frank and possible uncomfortable conversation. With your business on the line, however, the ease of this agreement outweighs the stress of a court battle later. Other examples may include LLC, shareholder, or buy/sell agreements. Additionally, paying yourself a competitive salary may prevent your spouse from claiming that you used marital assets to support your business.
- Consider nonconfrontational methods of separation. Collaborative divorces and mediation help you and your former spouse develop the most equitable solutions. Be honest throughout the process—hiding assets can result in severe legal penalties as well as resentment or anger from your former spouse, potentially eliminating any concern they have for your best interests.
- Research divorce law. Missouri is an equitable distribution state. Unlike in community property states, Missouri courts recognize a distinction between marital and nonmarital property, and they divide marital property equitably—but not necessarily equally. An experienced law firm will help you understand how laws for division of property may affect your rights.
- Consider all possible options regarding the future ownership of your business. You may want to split ownership if you feel you can successfully co-manage with your former spouse. If you’re interested in a fresh start, you can sell the business, splitting the profits equitably. Keeping full ownership, however, will require thorough documentation and most likely the provision of financial compensation for your former spouse. Alternatively, you could trade other marital assets of comparable value.
- Gather any documentation relevant to your business. This could include your business license, previous tax documents, business transactions, contracts and relevant emails or texts.
- Employ the help of a skilled and compassionate divorce attorney to help you protect your assets. The advisement of a professional allows you to potentially reach a more equitable agreement and, ideally, spend less time in court. A lawyer with both knowledge and empathy develops fair solutions that put the security of your business first.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer from the Galmiche Law Firm Today
Our Chesterfield divorce lawyer handles division of property while prioritizing the best interests of you and your business. With more than three decades of experience, our team looks closely at your unique circumstances and develops the best possible strategy to protect your livelihood.
Call (636) 552-4841 today or schedule a free initial case evaluationto get started.