As a business owner, you may have heard a lot about prenuptial agreements and how it is important for business owners to get them. However, you may have reservations about sitting down with the person you are going to marry and discussing something that is decidedly not romantic. You are afraid it will make your partner question whether you really trust him or her.
So, does every business owner really need a prenup?
Yes and no
In one way, no, every business owner does not need a prenuptial agreement. Rather, what business owners need is to know all of the facts and to make an educated decision based on their unique situation before getting married. They should evaluate any special considerations that could tilt the balance toward or against a prenuptial agreement.
In another way, yes, every business owner may need a prenup. Great romantic relationships can go sour, and people do change. Even in an amicable divorce, your spouse may have a good case for some of your business proceeds absent a premarital agreement. Your personal life goes through great turmoil in a divorce. If you can safeguard your employees and professional life from that as much as possible, why not do it?
Without a prenuptial agreement
Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning that even if your business was started before the marriage, your spouse likely has a claim for part of the proceeds. This is because, hopefully, your business grew during the marriage. That growth is also your spouse’s, especially so if your spouse contributed money and time to the business.
It is unlikely that a divorce without an agreement addressing your business would strip you of ownership. Rather, you might have to pay your spouse a certain amount of money related to the value of the business or its success. After all, while you were busy growing it, your spouse may have done the bulk of child care or other work that enabled you to focus on the business. Keep that in mind if you draft a prenuptial agreement too so you can be fair to the person you are going to marry.