A divorce disrupts every part of your life. Nothing is easy even in the best of cases. Your first step should always be to hire a reputable Milwaukee divorce attorney. However, you should also familiarize yourself with divorce laws in Wisconsin in order to protect yourself to the fullest.
Owners of home businesses are left in a particular bind when going through divorce. Legally, a judge can rule that your home business should be divided equally when you go through the divorce. Still, there are ways you can protect yourself and your business.
1. Try to Reach an Amicable Agreement
Most judges in Wisconsin will sign off on an amicable agreement. This means that both parties have made a decision about who will have ownership of specific items after the divorce. An Amicable Agreement works well if both you and your spouse are reasonable with your requests. It is still important to have a divorce lawyer to handle all of the legal issues even if an Amicable Agreement is reached.
2. Compile Proof of Ownership
If you began your business before you were married, you should retain full ownership. However, you must have proof that your business existed in some form prior to your marriage. You may use tax records, a business license, or even proof of a registered domain name to show when your business was founded. You may also retain ownership if you inherited the business in your name and not your spouse’s.
3. Provide Thorough Numbers
A court may grant you full ownership of a home business if you can show that the business is your sole means of income and that your spouse has other forms of income that are equal or near equal to your own. You should be able to supply accurate numbers, including all expenditures relating to the business as well as your own expenses. This might include retirement savings, health insurance, and upkeep of the are of the home in which the business is based.
4. Read Your Prenuptial Agreement
If you are one of the only 3 percent of married couples to have forged a prenup, you may be in luck. In Wisconsin, a prenuptial agreement falls under the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. This means that, if the prenup was signed by both parties, a judge will use the language of the prenuptial agreement to determine property division. However, if the home business was acquired after the marriage, the prenup may not apply.
5. Agree to a Settlement
You may not have to give up your home business if you are able to pay your spouse for his or her role in your earnings. A dollar amount may become attached to your business, but you don’t necessarily have to pay it in one lump sum. Sometimes it is possible to reach an agreement to pay the settlement over a course of time.
6. Work Together
It is a long shot, but sometimes divorcing couples can forego their differences to continue working together. Some former couples find that they can get past the failed marriage to create a very successful business. Remaining in close contact with each other is especially helpful if you share children.