Divorce is one of those life events that leaves no aspect of your world untouched.
Your small business is going to be no exception.
In fact, our Highland divorce lawyers know that there are special considerations that must be made and a fair amount of planning that has to be done in order to extricate yourself from the union with as little impact to your business as possible.
The fact is, most small business owners aren’t prepared for divorce. We already know that more than half of all marriages aren’t going to work out, but nobody enters into it thinking theirs will be among the 50 percent that didn’t make it.
Entrepreneurs though may have it especially difficult right now because of the economy. Many couples struggle to see eye-to-eye on money issues. But when you own a company, those stresses are compounded tenfold because you feel responsible for the welfare of others. You want to do everything possible to stay afloat. But that time away from home takes a substantial toll on marriages and families. Some simply aren’t able to survive it.
When you first begin to see things souring, that’s the time to seek legal counsel.
This is especially important for business owners because it’s not just yourself that you must strive to protect. You have a loyalty to your employees, your customers and others who depend on you and your business.
Hiring experienced legal counsel as early on in the process as possible will allow you to initiate the planning phase and reduce stress levels. This will help keep you focused on driving the business forward and continuing to keep it successful.
Some entrepreneurs have reported that their divorces ended up costing them thousands – not so much in legal fees, but in time spent in the mediation process and in court, the time expended on digging up reams of paperwork and in the time it takes away from getting new customers and maintaining relationships with existing clients. It can be especially burdensome if you run a company with a relatively small staff – where every person is vital to the operation – especially you!
The other question that comes up is what stake your soon-to-be ex will have in the company and its past and future profits. This is going to depend on a great many variables, including:
- What type of business it is;
- What the ownership structure is;
- What was the role of your spouse in the company;
- Whether you have children together;
- Whether you founded the business before or after you were married.
Of course, there are some things you should do to protect your business before you get married, assuming it’s already running at that point. Those include creating a clear prenuptial agreement, the establishment of a buy/sell agreement, the creation of a domestic asset protection trust (which would protect the company from being subject to division in the event of a divorce) and the creation of a will.
However, if you haven’t done those things, there are still other steps you can take. It will require at least some level of cooperation on the part of both spouses, as well as having skilled legal counsel to help you navigate the potential pitfalls.
Indiana Family Law Attorney Burton A. Padove handles divorce and child custody matters throughout northern Indiana, including Gary, Hammond and Calumet City. Call Toll Free 877-446-5294.
Divorce has “immense” impact on small businesses, By Deborah L. Cohen, Reuters