What If My Business Was not a Part of the Prenuptial Agreement? What Happens to It During the Divorce?
Prenuptial agreements are most common in marriages when one spouse has considerably more wealth than the other coming into the marriage. No one wants to build significant wealth on his or her own only then to have it fully exposed if a marriage does not work out. Sometimes, prenuptial agreements are incomplete with respect to certain assets such as a business that could become marital property on some level at a later date during the marriage. While the time a business was established can serve as a determination of whether it is pre-marital property, the assets it creates and generates during the marriage itself is typically marital property. Liabilities for the business which arose during the marriage could also be used as an element of any settlement negotiation when a business is being evaluated regarding whether it is marital or non-marital property when a pre-nuptial agreement is involved. It is always best to have experienced legal counsel like the Sarasota divorce attorneys near you at the Law Office of Matthew Z. Martell in Lakewood Ranch, FL and Sarasota, FL when your business is in jeopardy in a divorce that also involves a pre-nuptial agreement.
Dates Matter in Determining Ownership of a Business
Verifiable dates of purchase or establishment of a business can serve as valid proof of pre-marital individual ownership in many instances. Certain documentation such as utility bills and leases in the business name or an individual’s name before the marriage is effective and can establish that the business was a pre-marital asset within the preponderance of evidence standard for the burden of proof in family law cases. Creation and establishment of an ownership timeline can also serve as a good visual piece of evidence regarding proof of the pre-marital status of an asset in a divorce case involving a business and a pre-nuptial agreement.
The net profit a business earns during the time of a marriage is marital property from the time the marriage began if there is no prenuptial agreement provision dealing with this issue. If this business income is addressed in the pre-nuptial agreement, then normally these funds are part of a total amount being divided in bank accounts and/or stock brokerage accounts according to the agreed upon percentage per the terms of the pre-nuptial agreement. However, even if the court must decide on the how the post-marital net profits received from a business are to be classified, all divorces in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice are required to go through the mediation process at least once and often twice in hopes of an settlement. Therefore, this issue is negotiable and can be addressed and potentially resolved at mediation.
Getting Help with Addressing How Your Post-Marriage Business Assets and Income Should be Handled as it Pertains to Your Pre-Nuptial Agreement
Divorces are always difficult for everyone involved. But is still very important to protect your own best legal interest when business assets are evaluated and classified during your divorce pursuant to your pre-nuptial agreement. Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, Florida business owners who are going through a divorce and who have a pre-nuptial agreement should call the Law Office of Matthew Z. Martell Sarasota divorce attorneys near you for high quality comprehensive legal representation. Call us at (941) 556-7020 and schedule your 30-minute free initial phone consultation today. We are here to help you!