Rejoice, the time has finally come for the follow up to How to Get a Prenup Without the Hassle!
I know, I know. The anticipation and hype leading up to this post might have a few of you feeling a bit wary given the proclivity of epic events such as this to fail. As I always say, don’t trip chocolate chip. I promise this will be nothing like The “Amazing” Spiderman 2. Trust me, I’m a lawyer.
All kidding aside, as you learned in the first post of this two part blog series, the real acronym for Prenuptial Agreement is CYA. And you best believe that the brief lapse of awkwardness you fear to be inevitable when pitching the idea to your intended soul mate is a walk in the park compared to the nightmare you’re in for if/when you find yourself exposed to the wrath of your devil incarnate soon to be ex-spouse. That said, if you still feel like broaching the subject of securing a prenup will be as uncomfortable and perplexing as sitting through an entire Sunday NFL Countdown, there may be hope for you yet.
(v) to prohibit ones self from looking like a chump. It may sound harsh, but the truth hurts. Just ask Steve Bisciotti. The most prevalent reason for jumping the broom sans prenuptial agreement is the anticipated angst over a less than favorable reaction from your better half. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but welcome to married life. What if I told you there is a way to circumvent that anxiety and protect yourself without your sweetheart holding the fact that you made him or her sign a prenup (ie clearly indicating that you knew you would get divorced one day ie that you never really loved them in the first place ie kiss those happy hours you love so much goodbye) over your head for the rest of your foreseeable existence? Consider it your lucky day, because I’m about to make your dream a reality. BOOM.
In the business world, when something bad happens, the protocol is to shift blame upwards. For example, when Stella Liebeck took a crotch shot of scalding hot McDonald’s coffee, she certainly didn’t haul the poor sap working the drive thru into court. And, honestly, who believes their significant other when he or she claims that their boss just so happens to make them work late the night of your niece’s ballet recital/couples trivia night at your favorite local watering hole?! Thankfully, you too can shirk responsibility by laying blame on the corporate structure just like these folks! The trend of corporate charters or company operating agreements of including provisions to protect themselves in case of a shareholder’s divorce is increasing fast enough to be given it’s own hash tag. For example, the enterprise can mandate that ownership interests automatically convert to non-voting shares upon transfer to a third party (ie your former ball and chain).
Other mandates include restricting ownership of interest to a specific group of named individuals or prohibiting owners from transferring their interest without the prior written consent of their cohorts. Some companies even take it as far as requiring all owners to have an acceptable prenup in place before tying the knot. Acceptable, of course, meaning that the agreement must include a waiver of any and all rights to any ownership interest in the business in the event of a future divorce. Not part of your company protocol? No problem. Bring the idea to your boss who will bring it to his boss, and so on and so forth, until you receive an interoffice memo from the CEO announcing his or her genius idea; effective immediately. Start practicing your outrage of being “kept down by the man” routine and the get out of jail free card is as good as yours.
Alternatives to Securing a Prenuptial Agreement?
More of a lone wolf when it comes to making a living or simply don’t have it in you to rock the boat before you take the plunge? No worries. Although, as to the latter, I feel it is my responsibility to warn you that if you can’t assert yourself at a time when you still think your sweetheart is the best thing to happen to you since you discovered Redzone or the Vitamix; you may want to get on that. Like, now. As in exit your browser and call a therapist to discuss whether down the aisle is the direction you should be walking in. For those of you still with me, you can always explore certain estate planning tools such as a domestic or foreign asset protection trust which transfers the ownership of your separate property (ie your company) into a trust to shield it from any grubby little hands that may seek to swipe it down the road. While this may be a viable option for you, it may not fly if you have elected to qualify your pride and joy as an S Corporation. Further, if wedding bells are in your immediate future, you run the risk of the trust being qualified as a fraudulent transfer when it comes time to divvy up the marital estate.
The bottom line is that getting married without taking the proper steps to protect your financial interests is like stepping up to the plate facing Johnny Cueto without wearing a cup. And the best way to avoid getting your ass handed to you in a divorce remains ensuring that you have an airtight prenup before the time comes for you to exchange your vows. The trough has been handed to you on a silver platter, my friends, it would be a wise decision to drink up.