Some couples who choose to divorce before staying married too long or having children together truly do not understand how simple they have it. While no divorce is exactly easy or simple, and every divorce costs something, divorces between middle-aged couples with older children often prove exceptionally difficult to negotiate fairly.

One of the primary issues at hand is that the assets and liabilities held by couples at this point of their lives are usually far more complex than those that younger couples without children have to consider. This is especially true if one spouse own a business.

Typically, parents who find themselves in this dilemma got married a number of years ago, and simply did not anticipate how complicated their lives could get before they realized it was time to consider divorce. If you are like many business owners who consider divorce after a number of years together with your spouse, your business may face some challenges from the divorce. In broad terms, your spouse may have a claim against the value of your business, and you may soon have to choose between it and keeping other assets in the divorce.

Don’t wait to seek out professional legal counsel if you face this dilemma. The sooner that you take stock of your options and determine a path forward, the sooner you can set the tone for your divorce and protect your future, as well as the futures of the children you love and the business you hope to preserve.

Claiming the business is not marital property

In certain circumstances, a person may reasonably claim that a business is not marital property. In most cases, this occurs if the couple created a prenuptial agreement before marriage to protect the business from a possible divorce, or some sort of postnuptial agreement after marriage.

However, if you do not have a prenuptial agreement to protect your business, you may have a solid claim if you can prove that your spouse did not meaningfully contribute to the business, and your business and personal finances remain reasonably separate.

Negotiating to keep the business

If you cannot claim that the business is separate property, you may be able to negotiate the business away from your spouse altogether by offering him or her other assets to offset his or her share of the value of the business.

However, as your children age and approach the next step of their education, it is important to protect assets set aside to help them. As loving parents, it is important to make your children’s future a priority while you negotiate other aspects of your divorce.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for professional guidance, especially as it concerns protecting your business from your divorce. You may have more options than you expect!