When you are getting ready to get married, it’s easy to imagine the relationship will last forever, but preparing for the worst can save you a lot of grief. A marriage contract in British Columbia, akin to a prenuptial agreement in the USA, outlines what will happen to your and your spouse’s assets in the event of a divorce. Things like property division might seem straightforward, but what happens when a family business is involved?

What Constitutes a Family Business?

A family business can take many forms. You and your spouse may have owned separate businesses before the marriage, inherited company ownership from a parent, or started a joint venture during the marriage. Your spouse may be involved in your business as a cofounder, owner, shareholder, or employee.

Businesses within the context of a marriage fall under the category of “family property.” If your business shows an increase in revenue or other growth during the marriage, you may have to pay your spouse a hefty sum if you divorce — a hit your business may be unable to sustain.

A marriage contract in British Columbia, Canada can safeguard your business revenue from divorce, ensuring its assets remain untouched and under your control. If you inherited the business, this could be especially important to avoid tarnishing the company’s legacy, family name, or reputation.

But what happens when both spouses own the business? Married business owners, or “co-preneurs,” may find it wise to set up a marriage contract outlining what happens to the business in the event of a divorce.

Whatever your circumstances, a Canadian marriage agreement lawyer can help draft your agreement so that it meets your needs and is legally valid.

How to Include a Family Business in a Marriage Contracts

One important function of a marriage contract in British Columbia is to exclude specific assets from division in divorce proceedings. Creating marriage contracts in British Columbia isn’t difficult with experienced legal assistance. 

If you own a business, your spouse can agree to waive their rights to claim a stake in the business. However, depending on the circumstances, you may want to offer something in return. For example, you could increase your spousal support or offer some other monetary compensation.

Remember that your potential divorce isn’t the only one to prepare for. If you are one of four shareholders in a company and one of them gets a divorce, their ex-spouse might take a bite out of your business in return. Therefore, shareholder agreements are also important.

Pier Law & Mediation Offers Marriage Contract Assistance

When drafting a marriage contract in British Columbia, a lawyer’s involvement ensures all parties’ needs are met. A lawyer can also prepare for other eventualities. For example, even if a contract stipulates your spouse cannot lay claim to the business, you may still have to compensate them financially for another reason, such as alimony or spousal support.

If you seek legal assistance for marriage contracts in British Columbia, let Pier Law & Mediation help. Call (604) 560-8285 to schedule a consultation with a marriage contract lawyer today.

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