We've seen on a national level what happens to business owners who get divorced, like Frank and Jamie McCourt who are currently in a battle for ownership over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The messy dividing of business assets can be lengthy, brutal and costly. Women business owners seeking divorce advice in Pasadena often wonder what they should have done to protect their business from winding up in the hands of their ex. Jeff Landers of Forbes.com says there are a number of things business owners can do to protect themselves long before they visits a lawyer's office.
In a new blog, Divorce Dollars & Sense, Landers dishes out financial advice for the divorced and divorcing. But recently, Landers made headlines for giving tips to women who are happily married.
"It may seem strange to think about divorce while you're still single or happily married," he writes. "But, as a woman business owner, divorce-proofing your business should be an important part of your financial plan, even if you never need to use it."
Landers points out that protective measures for businesses need to be put into place "long before divorce is a possibility." Like family attorneys in Pasadena, Landers believes in prenuptial agreements, especially for women who have worked hard to grow their own business.
"By using a prenuptial agreement, both parties can decide in advanced what property will be considered separate property and what property will be considered marital property and how that marital property should be divided," he notes.
Landers admits these agreements can be awkward, unromantic and even contested in court. Domestic or foreign asset protection trusts and post-nuptial agreements are other alternatives to prenups, Landers says. Regardless of how you do it, Landers says divorce-proofing your business is a smart way to protect yourself.
"Consider this as a type of insurance policy, similar to your homeowner's insurance - you hope you never have to use it, but you feel secure having it," he adds. "And, if that storm ever blows through and levels your house, you'll be really glad that you have it!"