Traditional views of divorce often reflect the husband as the primary wage earner who is concerned about retaining those assets. However, more and more Ohio women are starting small businesses, and they are the ones seeking to maintain control post-marriage. That’s why it’s important for wives to take steps to protect their businesses from divorce.
Many states recognize the concept of marital property whereby any appreciation in the value of an asset during marriage is to be apportioned between the two parties. This may be true if the business was started during the marriage and also if the business existed at the time the couple entered into wedlock. Additionally, marital property may be applied even if the other spouse did nothing to contribute to the operation or management of the business.
However, an agreement between the couple can alter the characterization of the business as marital property. A prenuptial agreement signed prior to the marriage may identify the business as the separate property of the wife to be awarded solely to her in the event of divorce. A similar agreement, a postnuptial, can be entered into after the marriage begins. In either case, the agreement must be a valid contract with, among other issues, proper consideration.
A divorce lawyer can also suggest other strategies, such as a domestic asset protection trust. In any case, the division of property in a divorce is one of the more important and potentially contentious aspects of the process. Legal counsel could help a soon-to-be ex fight for a fair settlement.