Protecting Your Business During Divorce in Missouri
Divorce is a challenging time for anyone involved, especially when it comes to dividing assets. If you own a business, then it's likely that you'll be concerned about its fate during the divorce.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect your business during divorce, particularly in Missouri. This blog post aims to provide you with some insights into the different ways that you can protect your business in the event of a divorce.
Understand Marital vs Non-Marital Property
In protecting your business, you should first understand whether the asset is subject to division.
To do that, it's essential to have a clear understanding of what's considered marital property or separate property during divorce proceedings. Missouri is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital assets and debts are divided equitably (not necessarily 50/50).
In Missouri, marital property is defined as any property acquired during the marriage, while the non-marital (or separate) property is that which is acquired before your marriage (or after your date or separation).
If you started your business before marriage, then it’s considered a non-marital property. However, if your spouse invested in your business or worked for it, then it could be considered commingled property, which can also be subject to division.
Create a Pre- or Post-Nuptial Agreement
A pre- or post-nuptial agreement can outline how your property will get divided in the event of a divorce, including your business. This way, you'll have some protection in place that will prevent your spouse from having partial ownership or fighting for part of the business’ equity.
While pre-nuptial agreements are drafted and signed before your marriage, post-nuptial agreements are not entered into until after the wedding. Your attorney can help you draft the appropriate agreements.
Maintain Accurate Business Records
Another way to protect your business during divorce is to keep getting accurate records of your business. This can help you support your claims during the court proceedings. Make sure you keep proper documents such as tax returns, financial statements, transaction records, and other important documents.
These records will help you establish the value of your business, which in turn will influence how your business will be divided during divorce. Business records can also be used to dispute the other party’s claims that they contributed to your business (and are owed for their participation in the business).
Consider Divorce Mediation or Alternative Dispute Resolutions
In mediation, you and your spouse can work together, with the help of a neutral third party, to draft a divorce settlement that you agree upon. You can negotiate with your spouse and iron out the terms of your property division settlement yourself; during negotiations, you can offer your spouse other assets or take other steps to protect our business from division.
Hire an Experienced Attorney
Hiring an experienced attorney is the best step you can take in protecting your business during a divorce. An attorney can guide you through the legal process and help you navigate what can often be a complicated process. Your attorney can also help you assess the value of your business, determine if it's separate or marital property and develop a strategy to secure its assets.
At Kallen Law Firm, LLC, our attorneys have over 45 years of collective experience. We have helped countless clients successfully navigate their divorce cases and achieve the best possible case results.
To get started on your case, call (314) 441-7793 and schedule an initial consultation today.