Divorces can be tough. When your marriage reaches an impasse, it seems everything in your life, including your business, becomes part of the battleground. In New Jersey, the stress can amplify, as its laws can seem particularly complex.
There are things you can do to shield your business from the effects of a bitter separation.
Strategizing ahead of time
As you anticipate a divorce, set a strategy for protecting your business. Start by making your business operations transparent. You should have clear documentation of business finances, including income, expenses and assets. This transparency can prevent allegations of hidden assets and show you manage your business ethically. It is also critical to pay yourself a competitive salary. A lower personal income may lead to accusations of suppressing salary to lower spousal support.
Separating business from marital assets
One way to protect your business is by treating it as separate from marital property. If you started your business before marriage, it might remain as a non-marital asset. Keep in mind that any increase in value during the marriage could count as marital property. You might consider compensating your spouse for their share of the increased value.
Engaging with a business valuation professional
Hire a business valuation expert to provide an objective valuation of your business. Knowing its value is crucial in divorce proceedings, as it can help in discussions about the division of assets.
Being proactive in negotiations
As the divorce proceeds, stay proactive. Use clear communication to set expectations and make your intentions known. It will help if you are open to negotiations. It may mean offering your spouse a larger share of other assets in exchange for retaining full control of your business.
Caring for your mental health
While it may seem counterintuitive, caring for your mental health is also an essential part of protecting your business. Stress can impair your decision-making skills, which are crucial for running a business. Seek support from professional counselors or therapists.
While a contentious New Jersey divorce can be overwhelming, with a strategic approach, you can navigate the process without letting it affect your business.