New Jersey business owners who plan to get married or who are already married may be wise to draft agreements with their spouses that address how one spouse may leave the company in the event that a divorce happens. When business owners fail to have such agreements in place, they may risk losing their companies if they later get divorced.
Cases across the U.S. demonstrate what may go wrong when people who own businesses get divorced without having agreements in place. In Louisiana, a woman who started her own online company lost it in her divorce when the judge awarded it to her husband. In order to get her business back, she had to buy it from her ex-husband.
In another case in Delaware, a large, successful company is in danger simply because its owners split up without having an agreement in place about their business interests. The state legislature has stepped in because of the problems. The company employs 3,500 workers whose jobs may be at risk because of the lack of an agreement and the fact that the owners are unable to get along.
Business owners who are preparing to marry may want to take steps to ensure that they will retain their companies in the event that their marriages fall apart. By seeking help from family law attorneys, business owners may be able to draft prenuptial agreements that protect their business interests. People who are presented with proposed agreements may also want to consult with different attorneys who may review the provisions and negotiate the terms to better protect their own clients. Business owners who are already married may still draft agreements to help define what will happen if they divorce and who will retain control and ownership of the business by asking for help with antenuptial agreements.