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Protecting businesses in divorce

When Illinois company owners are married, it is important for them to draw up contingency plans in the event that they later choose to divorce. Couples who co-own businesses and who do not have such plans in place risk the failure of their businesses if they divorce and are subsequently unable to get along.

One case involving a Delaware company highlights the problems that can happen when companies outlast their owners' relationships. TransPerfect is a company that employs 3,500 employees. It was founded by a couple who later split up, and they have been unable to get along since that time. The problems have become severe enough that the company itself is in jeopardy. The couple sued each other in court, and the Delaware state legislature has now stepped in because of fears about what will happen to the company and its 3,500 employees.

In another case in Louisiana, a woman who founded an online diaper company lost it to her husband in the couple's divorce. She was forced to purchase it from him in order to regain it.

The cases demonstrate the importance of addressing business interests and how those might be handled in the event couples divorce. Family law attorneys may help their clients with addressing business interests in prenuptial or antenuptial agreements. Business owners who are married and who co-own businesses may need to consult with separate attorneys about antenuptial agreements that might best protect their financial interests in the event divorces happen. Attorneys may draft proposed agreements and review the provisions contained in the proposed agreements that are offered by their clients' spouses. This may help them to negotiate agreements that will best protect their clients if divorces later occur. People who are planning to marry and who have businesses may also want to address those companies in prenuptial agreements.

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