Friday, August 24, 2007

More prenuptials for businesses

I usually discuss prenuptial agreements on my Indiana Divorce and Family Law Blog. I use Google news alerts to keep track of news on prenuptial agreements and that is why I am writing about them on this blog. The latest alert came laden with references to stories from the business page. This might be a trend as an earlier post here mentioned. Certainly, it is good for the business writers to acknowledge the importance (and impact) of family law on businesses.

The New Hampshire Business Resource has a fairly good article Protecting your business assets with a ‘prenup. I do take issue with part of the following paragraph, though:

Stock in a family business owned by one spouse is marital property, and absent a valid prenuptial agreement would technically be subject to division under New Hampshire’s statutes. As a practical matter, however, it is unlikely that a court would order one spouse to transfer shares in a closely held business to the other spouse upon divorce, since judges and marital masters are mindful that post-divorce joint ownership of a business venture is unlikely to succeed. Accordingly, the court is likely to award all shares of stock in a closely owned family business to the spouse related to that family.
After nineteen years, I think that anyone can say what any judge will do about any matter in any particular case. Judges in divorce cases think that if both parties are equally angry then they have done a good job. What makes a prenuptial so useful is removing the surprise inherent in any judge's decision of what makes an equitable division of property.