Some happy couples in Ohio avoid talking about prenuptial agreements because they do not want to consider the possibility that a relationship could end. If protecting personal finances is not enough reason to consider a prenup, protecting a company might convince married business owners that they need to prepare an exit strategy.
When starting a business venture with a partner or partners, creating a contingency plan for irreconcilable differences is smart. Preparing for a worst-case scenario is still necessary when the owners are also life partners.
While the couple that founded the translation-software business TransPerfect were engaged but never married, they still needed to prepare for relationship trouble but didn't. The company, which has approximately 3,500 employees, faced uncertainty and restructuring because the founders became deadlocked and failed to form an agreement for this scenario. The sale of TransPerfect became necessary, but an ongoing legal battle keeps the company in limbo because concerns exist about what will happen to the employees and private property involved.
In another case, a court divided marital property, which included an online diaper business. The business went to the founder's estranged husband, so she had to buy it back.
To prevent business dilemmas during a divorce, a couple could keep marital property separate from company assets and expenses. However, one spouse could still be entitled to a share of a business. This might apply if a spouse contributed to the company in some way or the couple was married when the business was established. Depending on the length of the marriage, a spouse may have the right to a portion of a company even if it was established before a marriage. As many possibilities exist, one may wish to consult an attorney when dividing property in a divorce.