Saving the business when the marriage fails

Wisconsin spouses who are thinking about divorcing will need to negotiate a variety of things. One of the major issues will be dividing the marital assets. As a community property state, Wisconsin law states that marital assets must be divided 50/50. While this might simplify the negotiations, it can bring up some major complications if one of the spouses is a business owner.

Options for protecting the business

With planning, a business that was established before the marriage can be protected using a prenuptial agreement that identifies what will be considered marital property if the marriage ends. A postnup can also work, by establishing the same things. The difference is that it would be drawn up after the marriage. For further protection, it is best to avoid using the family home for collateral for the business or joint savings for investing in the business. There is also the option of putting the business into a trust. However, this must be done carefully so that it does not appear that the owner is trying to stop their ex-spouse from receiving assets.

Negotiating with an ex-spouse

If both spouses are involved in the running of the business, or if one spouse becomes more active in the decision-making process after acquiring partial ownership in the division of the assets, there are some options for handling what can be potential tension that hurts the business. These options include:

• Negotiating with other assets, such as the family home, so that one person keeps the business and the other the family home
• Selling the business and dividing the money received
• Having the ex-spouse sell their part of the business

While married couples do not like to think of their marriage ending, the divorce rate is about 50%. Planning for this possibility can prevent additional problems later on. With help from an attorney, you can create a prenuptial agreement that’s fair for all parties.