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Ending your marriage doesn’t have to mean ending your business

Deciding to end your marriage is the first decision you will make in what is usually a very stressful and complex process. This is especially true when you have a substantial amount of assets to divide. On top of determining whether to sell your primary residence in Orland Park or keep it, you and your wife will have to negotiate over the retirement and investment accounts, your vacation home, and everything down to the living room furniture.

Divorce becomes even more complicated when you throw a business in the mix. While you may be willing to let your wife have the house, the boat and her fair share of all other marital assets, the one thing you want to hold on to is your consulting practice. You spent endless hours building your business from the ground up and the last thing you want to do is watch your business fail because of your divorce. Fortunately, there a few things you can do to prepare your practice. Read further for some tips to protect your business from divorce.

Organize it

If you are considering divorce, it is time to get your business organized. This means that you need to get in order all financial statements, tax returns, bank statements and anything else that is relevant to your company and your marriage. Your attorney can help you with this process by specifying what information is relevant.

Get the details

Be prepared to provide information concerning your financial standing in the days leading up to your marriage. Be sure to also include any amounts you personally invested in your practice, both before the marriage and during. Gather your current personal financial information such as the balances on joint and separate bank accounts, the value of your investment accounts, and current balances on any loans and credit cards.

Protect your interests

As soon as possible, start separating all joint accounts, both assets and debts. For example, if she is taking the main residence, you will want to remove your name from the mortgage. This means she will have to refinance the loan into her name. If you do not fully separate all assets and debt, you could end up owing on a loan that you no longer have anything to do with. Your businesses operating agreement should stipulate what will happen to the business should you divorce especially if she is joint owner. For example, you may be able to buy her out. However, if she was not listed as an owner or if she did not participate in the business at all, you may be able to let her take assets equivalent to her share of the companies profits that she would have been entitled to as your wife.

Put it in writing

Keep written records of any conversations you have with your future ex-wife concerning the divorce. Keep all emails, text messages and any other messages you exchange with her. This may provide you with evidence of a property division agreement while you are working toward a fair property settlement.

If you are worried about how your divorce will affect your business, it is important to take immediate steps to protect it and your other interests. Not only will your attorney help you take appropriate actions, your accountant and financial planner can help you prepare for dividing high-value marital property.

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