Business owners in Columbus who are getting divorced are often concerned about whether their business will be able to survive the divorce, and if so, whether business assets will ultimately need to be shared with a spouse as part of the equitable distribution of marital property under Ohio divorce law. What steps can you take to protect your business in a divorce? There are steps you can take before you get married, steps you can take during your marriage and before a divorce occurs, and steps you can consider during the divorce itself. Our Columbus divorce lawyers can provide you with more information.
Protecting Your Business Before Your Marriage
The best way to protect your business in a divorce is to enter into a prenuptial agreement before you get married. In your prenuptial agreement, you can reach an agreement with your spouse that all business property will remain yours and will not be subject to division in the event of a divorce.
In some circumstances, placing business assets in a trust prior to the marriage can also protect those assets from distribution if you ultimately get divorced.
Protecting Your Business During the Marriage (and Prior to Divorce)
Ohio is not a state that allows married couples to enter into postnuptial agreements or to amend existing prenuptial agreements during the marriage. As such, it is not currently possible to enter into a postnuptial agreement about your business with your spouse. However, it may be possible to do so at a point in the near future depending on existing legislation that is being considered in Ohio. Under SB210, married couples would be permitted to amend existing prenuptial agreements and enter into binding postnuptial agreements.
Until postnuptial agreements become a possibility in Ohio, it is also a good idea to keep your spouse separate from the business. Although assets you earn during the marriage from the business will likely be classified as marital property and subject to division unless you have already excluded them through a premarital agreement, protecting the business can be more complicated if your spouse is a key figure in running the business.
Protecting Your Business During Your Divorce Case
When it is clear that you and your spouse will be getting divorced, it is critical to take steps to protect your business. First, you should have the business property valued or appraised so that you have a good sense of what it is worth when the court considers business assets for distribution. Knowing the value of the business can also allow you to buy out your spouse. Indeed, with assistance from your Columbus divorce lawyer, you may be able to buy out your spouse’s interest in the business so that you can maintain ownership and control of the company after the divorce.
Sometimes, in order to protect your business interests, you may need to be prepared to give up rights to other assets to keep your company.
Contact Our Columbus Divorce Attorneys
Do you have questions about how to protect your business assets in a divorce? A Columbus divorce attorney at our firm can speak with you today about your options, which will depend on the specific facts of your case. Contact the Lawrence Law Office to learn more.