When couples start their new lives together after getting married, they often have lofty goals. They may plan to build a new home, have children or start a business together. All of these can contribute to the bonding of the partners, but they can also be a mess to deal with if the couple decides to divorce. While dividing property and sharing custody are commonly the focus of divorce litigation and negotiations, the fate of the business should not take a back seat.
If you and your spouse own a New Jersey business together, you have a lot to deal with as soon as possible if there are rumblings of divorce in your future. Depending on the scope of your business, your divorce may affect more than just the two of you. Additionally, if the business provides your sole income, you may want to do all you can to protect it or to ensure you have alternatives after the divorce.
If you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement that addresses the fate of the business in case of divorce, you are ahead of most other couples. Without a prenup, you have work to do. This includes obtaining an agreeable business valuation and determining the outcome you prefer after property division. You may opt to continue working together, to dissolve or sell the business, or for one partner to buy out the other’s interests. In any case, your divorce will likely affect the following:
- The interests of your partners or shareholders
- The value of the company’s stock
- The loyalty of employees who fear they are losing their jobs
- The ability of your remaining employees to focus on work
- Your employee’s time and energy to complete their tasks if appraisers require them to assist with gathering information
- The confidence of your customers and clients who may wonder if they should take their business elsewhere
- The confidence of your vendors and suppliers
- Your own ability to commit the necessary effort to the business while you are preparing for the divorce, attending court appearances and taking calls from those involved in your divorce
What you will want to avoid is anything that will cause further disruption to the normal flow and success of your business, especially if it is your goal to continue running the company after the divorce. With so much at stake, you would be wise to obtain solid and experienced legal counsel before filing any divorce papers.