Before you got married, you had a small business. You had been cultivating it for a few years before you met your spouse, and you have had it your entire marriage. Today, it has grown into a significant source of income and supports your entire family.
Your spouse has said that they’d like to receive a portion of the proceeds each year from the business. They also want to continue playing a role in it. Is that a good idea? How can you protect yourself and your business assets?
Determine what kind of property your business is
The first step in this case will be to determine if your business is marital or separate property. Any aspect of the business that you put together before your marriage may be considered separate, so if your business was mostly created prior to marriage, it may be safe in many ways already.
However, your spouse may be entitled to profits or proceeds based on how much the business earned or grew during your marriage. If you made investments or have significant business property that was gathered during your marriage, they may be entitled to at least some portion of it.
How can you protect your business?
The first thing to do is to talk through what your spouse wants. If they already play a role in the business and just want to maintain it, then your business may not need to be impacted. Similarly, if they just want a percentage of proceeds each year, then you may be able to include that in a property division settlement. Your attorney can work with you to determine exactly what you need to do to protect your business.