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Protecting your business during divorce

Like most business owners, you probably take pride in the business you have put so much time and effort into building. Unfortunately, if you are one of the many people in Utah who are about to file for divorce, all of your hard work could be at risk. It is not at all uncommon for divorce to disrupt business function or operations.

Identifying the potential impacts of a divorce is important. These generally come down to things like finances, property division and day-to-day operations. It is also wise to remember that your business can impact your divorce, too.

Are you paying yourself enough?

It is not uncommon for business owners to take a reduced salary. If you have been paying yourself less than you otherwise could, it might have been out of a desire to keep your business in a liquid state. However, if your business is considered a marital asset in any way, this means that there will be more to distribute during property division. Paying yourself a higher salary now can help preserve your business in the future.

You should not necessarily be worried about losing half of your business, though. Even if your business turns out to be a marital asset, Utah is what is known as an equitable division state. This means that, in all likelihood, you will not divide your marital property 50/50. Instead, you will each take a portion that is most equitable -- or fair -- during the divorce.

Preserve daily operations

Prioritizing the protection of your business during a divorce is essential. However, this focus should not come at the cost of its daily operations. You might not even realize that the divorce is eating up so much of your time and mental energy that you are potentially placing your business in jeopardy. Finding the right guidance through divorce can help reduce this possibility.

Your soon-to-be ex-spouse could also disrupt day-to-day operations. For example, he or she could receive a sizeable chunk of the business' stock in the divorce and, as such, become a partner. His or her input could influence the business in undesirable ways. Furthermore, losing stock during the divorce can even impact your own status.

What if I don't have a prenup?

Experts often advise business owners to sign prenuptial agreements. If you have recently read about this option, you might feel like there is no hope for the future of your business. While it might be good advice to sign a prenup, it probably won't help much if you start your company after saying "I do." However, you may have the option of creating a post-nuptial agreement instead.

Finding the right advocate who understands your unique needs is essential during divorce. This is especially true for business owners like you who might be unsure of their own rights in this process. You should be sure to reach out to an attorney who has experience handling complex divorce cases, including those dealing with businesses and other significant assets.

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    — Tawny A.

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