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Owning a family business can mean additional questions and concerns during a divorce. Whether the entrepreneur started the New Jersey business before or after getting married, there may be legal matters that can complicate asset division and jeopardize the future of the business. If this is a possibility in a divorcing couple’s future, it is wise to seek legal advice as early as possible in the process.

Even if one spouse started or inherited a business prior to getting married, the assets and appreciation the business gained during the marriage are likely included in the marital property on the table for division during a divorce. Without a prenuptial agreement, the business owner may have few options. For example, the business owner can offer to buy out the financial interest the other spouse has in the business. This can be expensive and may have to involve creating an agreement in which the business owner pays the spouse over time or trades the spouse’s interest for other assets.

The couple can decide to keep the business and continue operating it as partners. However, this arrangement is not always sustainable, and the couple would be wise to draft a contract that includes an exit strategy. In many cases, rather than dividing or sharing the business, the divorcing couple may decide to sell it and split the proceeds.

A business owner places his or her livelihood on the line by marrying without careful planning and protection for the good of the business. If a couple’s divorce places a business at risk, the business owner will want solid and reliable legal advice for minimizing the damages. An experienced New Jersey attorney can offer the guidance and resources to assist business owners in reaching the best possible outcome during asset division.