Many New Jersey spouses own businesses together. Other marriages, however, include spouses where just one of the two is the business owner. In fact, many situations involve a second spouse who cares little or has basically nothing to do with a business. Whichever the case may be, any and all business owners are wise to take steps as soon as possible to protect their business interests in case of divorce.

It is understandable, especially in situations where one spouse offers no support toward the other spouse’s business, to assume that the non-business spouse would settle a divorce without trying to financially gain from the business. That is not always how things play out in court, however, as a woman in another state can attest. She says her husband complained about her business throughout their entire marriage until it came property division proceedings in their divorce.

The woman said her husband realized the value of her high-end seaside resort landscape gardening business and is now fighting her for half the assets. Another business owner said she felt betrayed and devastated over the economic loss she suffered when her husband bought her out as part of her divorce settlement. Similar situations may be avoidable if business owners take certain steps ahead of time.

One way to ensure that a business will not be subject to property division in divorce is to sign a prenuptial agreement before marrying. Both parties, of course, need to add their signatures to the contract; however, in doing so, a business can be listed as separately owned by one spouse only. Transferring business ownership to a trust is another way to protect a future spouse from economic loss in divorce. An experienced New Jersey family law attorney can help a business owner navigate the process.