Business owners in Illinois who are planning to get married should strongly consider signing a prenuptial agreement before the wedding. This is a way of protecting their financial interest in their business in the event of a divorce. Without it, their business that they have invested in and built could be at risk if the marriage does not endure.
Perhaps the most important thing that the prenuptial agreement can do is to state in clear terms what would happen with the business in the event of a divorce. The non-titled spouse could be given a percentage of the business, or the agreement could state that the business in its entirety would remain with the titled spouse.
There are still many more things to consider. The prenuptial agreement could state what the new spouse’s role would be in the business if they will have one. It could also discuss what would happen in the divorce if the business owner took a lesser salary and left money in the business. This could reduce the size of the marital estate if they are retaining the entire business. While these may be difficult issues to discuss before two people marry, they are crucial to address beforehand given the consequences. Without it, a spouse can lose half their business as it would become marital property after the nuptials.
It is best to consult with a family law attorney before beginning the process of drafting a prenuptial agreement. This is a delicate process that must be handled tactfully as broaching the topic of divorce before the wedding can be difficult. The attorney may handle negotiating the agreement with the tact that is necessary to get both spouses on the same page about a sensitive topic. One attorney would not represent both spouses in the agreement as each should have their own.