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A prenup can make your company separate property

You're a company owner and now you're getting married. You want to protect yourself and your business in case you get divorced. You're just being realistic. You've been building this company for years and can't let anything compromise your vision or your success.

You may want to consider a prenuptial agreement. You can have it written so that it specifically shows that your business is a separate asset and your spouse has no claim to the company.

Doing this, you can also protect the company's growth. For instance, perhaps it's valued at $500,000 right now. In a decade, it could be valued at $1,500,000. If you're getting divorced, you don't want your spouse to claim half of that growth, saying the initial value is separate property and the increase is marital property. Designate the entire company as something that cannot be touched during asset division.

You can even specify that your spouse has no claim if he or she contributes. This way, you can use as much of your personal money to grow your company as you want, without worry that your spouse will later say you used marital property for the business and therefore have a claim on it. Be very specific. Protect yourself on all fronts.

One final note: If you got married without a prenup, it's not too late. You can draft a postnuptial agreement that does the same thing.

Be sure you know all of the legal options you have to keep your company firmly in your hands. Your spouse may not be thrilled, but you'll be glad you pushed for it if you get divorced.

Source: Forbes, "Why a Prenup May Be A Woman Entrepreneur's New Best Friend," Jenny Odegard, accessed Nov. 17, 2017

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