You’re planning a divorce. As a business owner, you worry that your spouse — soon-to-be your ex — will take half of the company. Is that how it works?
It can be but don’t automatically assume that is how things are going to play out. Your spouse may have a far smaller claim to the company or none at all. The court is going to think about things like:
- When you got married and how long the relationship lasted
- When you started the company and whether you were married at the time
- If your spouse had a role in that company and what the role was
- How your spouse contributed to the relationship that may have impacted the company
For instance, maybe your spouse quit their career to take care of the kids, giving you the time to start the company. That could give them some claim even if they didn’t work at the business, based on the fact that they allowed you to grow the company over the years.
The reality is that this is complicated. Your spouse could have a significant claim to a large portion of the value of the company, or at least the increase in value while you were married. You must know exactly where you both stand, what the business is really worth and how things are going to play out in court.
At the same time, it is incredibly important to know your legal options. You do not want the divorce to take your company away from you, and you must plan for life after marriage.