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TX divorce lawyerIf you are a business owner, you need to understand that getting divorced could have a significant impact on your ownership of business assets, the income you earn through your business, and your ability to continue operating your company successfully. For business owners, divorce often involves complex property litigation as they determine how to divide their marital assets and debts. Those who are looking to protect a family business or professional practice in the case of divorce should consider creating either a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement.

Addressing a Family Business in a Prenup or Postnup

A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, is a legal agreement signed by a couple before getting married. This agreement will detail how certain matters will be handled if their marriage ends in divorce, and it may include decisions related to marital assets such as family businesses. A postnuptial agreement, or postnup, functions the same as a prenup, but it is created and signed after a couple is already married.

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may address a business or professional practice in the following ways:

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TX divorce lawyerOne of the most difficult components of many high asset divorces involves the division of business assets. Although having a pre or postnuptial agreement can make this process much simpler, not all couples enter into these types of agreements, which means that either a court or the parties themselves will need to decide how any business interests will be split. To ensure that the division of your marital assets, including any business interests, is fair and equitable, please contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who is well-versed in Texas law and can advise you accordingly.

Is There a Premarital Agreement?

If a couple entered into a premarital agreement and one of the parties already owned a business at the time, then the fate of that company in the event of divorce should have been included in the agreement. In these cases, how the business’ assets will be divided depends on the terms of the agreement, which could mean a number of different things. For instance, the parties might have previously agreed that the entire company would go to one spouse in the event of divorce, or that both would receive an equal share.

Just because a couple did not enter into a premarital agreement before getting hitched, does not mean that they are out of luck when it comes to dividing their business upon divorce, as married couples also have the option of entering into postnuptial agreements that account for these types of assets.

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TX divorce lawyerAlthough prenuptial agreements are not something that business owners typically think about when they become romantically involved with another person, the reality is that making these types of considerations is extremely important for those who are considering marriage. Entering into this type of contract before a marriage takes place can give both parties peace of mind, while also ensuring that a company’s assets are protected in the event of divorce. For help drafting or enforcing your own prenuptial agreement, please contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can assist you.

Owning a Business Prior to Marriage

If a person owns a business going into a marriage, then those assets will most likely fall under the category of separate property in the event of divorce. However, any growth in value and earnings stemming from the business can and probably will be considered community property, which means that if a couple decides to divorce, the original business owner would need to split those earnings down the middle. Furthermore, if the spouse who didn’t originally own the business ended up substantially contributing to it during the marriage, then that business interest could be considered commingled with the couple’s community property and so converted into marital property for the purpose of division upon divorce.

A couple can forestall all of these complications by entering into a prenuptial agreement before getting married. For instance, the agreement could include provisions explaining that any increase in value or earnings from the business during the course of the marriage will still remain the original owner’s separate property in the event of divorce.

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Austin family law attorney, prenup, prenuptial agreement, pre-marital property, financially disastrous, planning your wedding, prenups and business, property division settlementDividing up marital property and assets during a divorce can become difficult if one of the spouse's owns a business. That business may be one of the most important assets in the marital estate, especially if it is a successful one. Ideally, if the business was started before the marriage, the couple should draw up a prenuptial agreement that includes specific details regarding the business in the event of a divorce. However, if a prenuptial agreement is not drafted, a divorce could become increasingly difficult and potentially financially disastrous for one spouse or the other if the marriage fails.

For example, one couple going through a divorce, did not have a prenup, and thus put the husband's corporation at risk. Shareholders were left to wonder what would happen to the company. Said husband is currently worth $14.6 billion and is listed in Forbes Magazine as a global billionaire. He also owns 126 million shares of his company, giving him 70 percent ownership.

The judge overseeing the divorce stated that just over 122 million of the shares the husband owns were acquired prior to his marriage and are therefore considered "pre-marital property" and will not be part of any property division settlement. However, the remaining 4 million shares will not be covered by the judge's order.

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