Property Division can become Complicated for Business Owners

When a Utah marriage ends in divorce, the process of dividing assets and coming to a final settlement can be a challenge. In marriages in which a business is owned by one or both spouses, these challenges can multiply exponentially. Media coverage of celebrity or other high-asset divorces have demonstrated the extensive, and expensive, litigation that can result when business interests become part of the property division process.

The best way to protect against potentially lengthy, contentious and expensive property division negotiations is to draft an iron-clad prenuptial agreement. For individuals who already own a business or who are planning to start a new business venture in the near future, a prenuptial agreement can clearly outline the manner in which business interests are to be divided in the event of a divorce. For those in Utah who are already business partners with their soon-to-be-spouse, the intricacies of a prenuptial agreement may be more complex. However, in unions in which only one partner will be handling the operations of the business, the document is often far more simple.

Discussing a prenuptial agreement does not have to entail a highly emotional debate. The topic can be approached as a business planning need. When a business becomes successful, those who are employed within the company come to rely on their jobs to provide for their own families. In cases in which a business becomes subjected to a property division process, the result can be that the doors close and everyone loses. A prenuptial agreement can ensure that this does not occur, and that the partner who is responsible for the success of the company will retain the right to maintain those assets in the event of a divorce.

When drafting a prenup, it is necessary for both parties to disclose all of their financial information. This includes a comprehensive list of all income, assets and liabilities. Failing to disclose significant holdings can result in the entire document being thrown out of court, so both parties should be sure that their full financial standing is clearly outlined. It is also important to stress that in many cases, neither a prenuptial agreement nor property division is needed. The Utah couple can look forward to a long and happy marriage, expecting the best and protected against the worst.

Source:, “Why Rupert Murdoch’s Divorce Is a Wakeup Call for Business Owners,” Leah Ingram, June 17, 2013

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