Building a successful business takes time, considerable investment and hard work. In the event you and your spouse divorce, you shouldn’t have to worry about losing a portion or all of your business in the process. While prenuptial and postnuptial agreement discussions may initially feel uncomfortable, these documents are extremely important when it comes to protecting your business.
A prenuptial agreement is a prudent move for prospective spouses coming to the marriage with assets they want to safeguard in the event of divorce. It’s also helpful for professional career couples who wish to retain some level of financial autonomy. A prenuptial agreement covers the assets and debts each person brings to the marriage, including the anticipated earnings of both during the union. By having a prenuptial agreement, the parties gain control over their separate property and part of the marital estate. Each spouse becomes empowered to save, spend or invest their assets freely without fear of losing them in the event of divorce.
When a person gets married, most assets become the property of both spouses, so your partner could therefore be entitled to half of your business if you later divorce. Creating a marital agreement allows you to channel business assets to yourself if the marriage should end. Working with an experienced family law attorney to create a solid prenuptial agreement can help you protect your business and ensure it stays separate from any marital property that is subject to division.
You can still protect your business assets if you don’t have a prenuptial agreement by creating a postnuptial contract. Postnuptial agreements operate much like prenups, except that the parties are already married when they enter the contract. In fact, postnuptial agreements are becoming increasingly more common. A survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) showed members reported a 50 percent increase in client requests for postnuptial agreements.
For marital agreements to be valid, they must be in writing and adhere to other state law requirements. In the case of a prenuptial, the parties must mutually provide full disclosure of their financial condition, including a list of all their assets and debts, before signing the agreement. Oklahoma courts will not enforce a pre- or postnuptial agreement that has been forced upon one party by the other or signed under duress. Additionally, a marital agreement is invalid if there’s been fraud, misrepresentation of material facts or an imbalance of negotiating power resulting in an unconscionably unfair contract.
Lindsey Law Firm, P.C. provides effective legal representation in a wide variety of family law matters, including the protection of business interests in a divorce. Call me today at 918-587-0097 to schedule your free initial consultation or contact me online. My office is in downtown Tulsa, just two blocks from the courthouse and a short distance from the courthouse bus stop.