The Huffington Post’s divorce section (a relatively new, but fast-growing, addition to the site) offers an extremely useful primer on the difference between separate and marital property and how those differences can impact your Orange County Divorce.
As the article, written by Jeffery Landers, a financial planner who specializes in divorces, notes, “depending on your individual circumstances, your spouse may be entitled to as much as 50% of your business in a divorce.” Since divorce is governed by state law the precise circumstances will vary widely from place to place. California, of course, is one of the nation’s nine community property states. Having said that, Landers offers some good, basic advice on protecting your business during a divorce – advice that applies as much here in Orange County as it does anywhere else in the country.
First and foremost, he talks about the importance of prenuptial agreements. While the law is relatively clear on the difference between a separate property asset and a marital asset that does not mean that individual things are not open to debate during the California divorce process. The more of those debates you can foreclose through legal agreements negotiated long before either spouse is contemplating divorce, the smoother the ultimate Orange County Divorce process is likely to be. Of course, agreements are not foolproof (ask the McCourts!) – particularly if one party can later make a case to a California family law court that the agreement is grossly unfair, was entered into under duress or is the product of misrepresentation.
The same can be said for other common business-protection strategies, such as putting your ownership interest into a trust. It might work, or it might not. A lot depends on how you go about it and the quality of the legal work that goes into the actual agreement.
This is the area in which the assistance of an experienced, detail-oriented Orange County family law attorney is so crucial. It can seem unromantic to say that you should speak with a lawyer about protecting your business at the outset of a marriage or other relationship, but the insight and advice an Orange County divorce lawyer can offer peace of mind down the line even if that advice is something you, in the end, never need to act upon.
Huffington Post: How to divorce-proof your business