Protecting Business Assets Before Marriage
While most people don’t enter into marriage expecting to get divorced, the reality is that this is the fate of almost 50 percent of marriages in the U.S. For this reason, couples who are on the verge of marriage are encouraged to take certain steps to protect their finances in the event of divorce, particularly those who own businesses. This is an important consideration, especially if a business is someone’s most valuable asset, so if you are considering marriage and have questions about how to best protect your company, please contact an experienced prenuptial and postnuptial agreement attorney who can explain your legal options.
Drafting a Prenuptial Agreement
One of the most common methods used to preserve a business interest before getting married is to enter into a prenuptial agreement. These documents allow both parties to determine how assets will be divided in the event of a divorce, so a business owner could ensure that provisions are included stating that he or she will retain all business assets if the marriage should fail. Many prenuptial agreements are contested at a later date, so it is important for the parties to each consult with their own attorney who can make sure that the document is fair, legally sound, and not entered into under duress.
Partnership or Shareholder Agreements
In some cases, it is not necessary for a soon-to-be spouse to enter into a prenuptial agreement, especially if a partnership or shareholder agreement is already in place and addresses the possibility of divorce. For example, some shareholder agreements contain provisions explaining that if a shareholder gets married, his or her future spouse waives any future interest in the business. Alternatively, a partnership agreement could give other partners the right to buy out any of the others who are going through a divorce. These types of provisions help ensure that ownership of a business will stay with the partners or shareholders and won’t automatically be divided with the spouses of these individuals upon divorce.
Although it may be more difficult and less convenient, it is also possible for spouses to enter into postnuptial agreements once a marriage has already taken place, if they begin having concerns about the fate of a business. Like prenuptial agreements, these documents must comply with strict rules and violating any one of them could result in the entire agreement being thrown out. For instance, both parties are required to disclose all of their assets, debts, and income to each other and must agree to waive certain rights. These kinds of documents must also be witnessed and signed in accordance with Florida law. An experienced attorney can ensure that all of these requirements are fulfilled.
Speak with an Experienced Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreement Attorney Today
If you have an ownership interest in a business and are considering marriage, you may want to begin the process of drafting a prenuptial agreement to ensure that your interest is protected if your marriage is later dissolved. Please call dedicated Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today to learn more.