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Use family law to protect the family business

In the United States, approximately 90 percent of companies are family owned and operated. Some of these may be run by husband and wife teams, and others may be owned by one spouse's family. When a marriage fails to thrive, it can have a negative impact on the business if proper precautions were not taken before or during the marriage to protect the company. Ohio residents can use family law offerings to help protect their family businesses long before divorce enters the picture.

There is one tool, in particular, that can help protect a family business from the ravages of divorce -- the prenuptial agreement. Pre-marital contracts spell out, in detail, what each party will get, should either file for divorce. In order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid, the terms must be fair, the agreement cannot be forced into signing or signed under duress, and each party must have the opportunity to go over the document with their own legal counsel. If a prenuptial agreement was not signed, it may be possible to seek the same protections with a postnuptial contract.

Most courts do not wish to see business fail due to divorce. However, in some marriages, the company may be the single most valuable shared asset. If proper protections are not put in place -- either through a prenuptial agreement, postnuptial agreement or through business planning -- the options for dividing this type of asset can devastate a company's bottom line.

No one goes into marriage expecting it to fail. Unfortunately, it happens. Ohio business owners can seek to preserve their companies by seeking the protections offered through family law services.

Source:, "How to protect your family business from a divorce", Jennifer Millner, Nov. 14, 2017

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