Special Considerations for Female Entrepreneurs Going Through Divorce
Divorce is—by its nature—a difficult process, but when you’re a business owner it can be even more complicated. If you’re a female entrepreneur, you’ve spent years building up your business, competing successfully in a male-dominated world, and you’ve taken a real sense of ownership in what you’ve created. Naturally, when it comes to divorce, you want to protect your business and retain ownership… but the divorce process can throw some unexpected wrinkles into these plans. If you’re a businesswoman, it’s important to understand these potential complexities before beginning divorce proceedings, so there will be no unpleasant surprises as you move forward.
5 Concerns for the Female Entrepreneur Going Through a Divorce
- Your spouse may have a right to a share of the company. Even if your spouse was not involved directly in your business, they likely supported you in some way while you worked—perhaps by looking after the children, or the household. Depending on whether you’ve made specific arrangements for the division of the business (perhaps in your prenuptial agreement) the court could rule that your spouse’s support entitles them to a substantial part of the company.
- If your spouse works for you, they may have additional rights. If your spouse worked for the company, they may have an even greater claim to a share of the business. This is especially true if they were not paid at a market-appropriate salary, or if they played a major role in building the business.
- A prenuptial agreement could help protect you…if you had the foresight to draft one. A prenuptial agreement is the best way to ensure that there will be no surprises concerning your business should you get divorced. If you and your spouse have already signed a prenuptial agreement, then the division of your business’ assets becomes a much simpler affair. A prenuptial agreement generally outlines the value of the business at the time of the marriage, an arrangement for appraising the value of the business at the time of a divorce, and a breakdown of the percentage of the business’ value that each partner will receive.
- Custody negotiations can be more complicated for a businesswoman. Although attitudes are changing, many people still consider it a woman’s role to be the primary caregiver for their children. For female entrepreneurs, though, this may well not be the case, and these biases may prejudice the judge against the businesswoman’s right to custody. Emphasizing the flexibility of your role as an entrepreneur could help sway the judge in your favor.
- Being prepared is the best way to ensure a positive outcome. Signing a prenuptial agreement is a must for any businesswoman, but whatever your prenup status, it’s important to go into your divorce proceedings fully prepared. Hiring a divorce attorney as you soon as you decide to move forward with divorce—and going over your business records in detail—can help you get a head start on your case.
If you’re a female entrepreneur, finding the right divorce attorney is essential to protecting your assets. You’ve worked too hard to risk losing everything you’ve built. At Lazor Rantas, PC, we have many years of experience working with business owners, getting them the best possible outcome in their divorce cases. Contact us today by calling 973-457-8844 or by using the brief contact form below.