New Jersey business owners need to be careful when they seek to get married. If the marriage does not work out, absent some type of contractual protection, their ownership and control of the business can be at risk. A prenuptial agreement can help prevent this type of situation.
A prenuptial agreement lays out ahead of time what would happen financially if a couple gets divorced. With regard to a business, it can specify how much of the business the owner is able to keep. Sometimes, the agreement even dictates that the owner is able to retain all of it. The agreement can also detail the role that the spouse will have in the company. It can provide a valuation for the business that can be used as a guideline if there is a divorce.
The dangers of not having an agreement are multiple. Once the couple gets married, the business can be viewed as part of the marital estate. Even if the ex-spouse does not end up with half the business, divorce can still result in a significant financial loss for the owner. There may also be expensive and bitter litigation to determine whether the owner can maintain control over their business. This uncertainty can impact the business during that time and may even harm the value of the company. All of this can be avoided.
Many spouses hesitate to discuss this type of agreement before they are married because it considers the effect of a divorce. However, an attorney may work to handle the matter with the dexterity and care that is necessary to get both parties to an agreement. Those who are considering marriage and are bringing substantial assets into the union may seek legal counsel to find out how they can better protect themselves in the event of divorce.