Divorce for a New Jersey Business Owner
Business owners: the hard-working people that provide their neighbors with jobs, give back to the community, and often pay the most in taxes. Whether you are a small business owner like me, or you are Jeff Bezos of Amazon, a divorce can have serious consequences both personally and professionally.
As a business owner, you are comfortable with making decisions and setting goals. This new blog series is written for you: the entrepreneurs, big or small. Your New Jersey Divorce will have complexities beyond that of the average W-2 income earner. By reading this series of blog posts you’re taking an important step in becoming informed about how to protect your assets. Over the next few months our blog will be highlighting issues commonly confronted by business owners when they are divorced. It will help to answer what happens to the business, and what happens to you.
Happily EVEN After
In 2019 I published my first book: Happily EVEN after: the New Jersey Divorce Guide. My books answers most of the commonly asked divorce and family law questions, provides an overview of New Jersey Divorce law, and emphasizes our firm’s philosophy of working towards an amicable resolution when possible. That is not to say we don’t litigate our fair share of cases—we do—but we want to first “do no harm.” In other words, we choose the path of least resistance first and then scale up from there. This leads to greater efficiency and cost-savings to the client.
If you settle your case amicably you are likely to cut down costs, create a better home environment for your children, and be more likely to have a productive and healthy relationship with your ex in the future. You're also less likely to lose your business as collateral damage from the divorce. If you can effectively communicate with your ex then you drastically increase the odds of healthy co-parenting.
Another part of our firm’s philosophy is that the emotional component of a divorce must be addressed. Unlike most areas of the law, in a divorce case managing emotion may be even more important than researching the relevant statutes and case law. Finally, we ask our clients to treat a divorce as though they are training for a marathon. You need to make sure you are in the right head-space, that you eat healthy, that you actively learn and become a part of the legal team---this creates the potential for an optimal outcome. As a business owner you know how important it is to be at your best and to set a positive example for your employees/team, and to effectively lead. All of these qualities will come in handy when you go through a New Jersey Divorce.
I enjoyed writing Happily EVEN After and am overjoyed that I have received a great amount of positive feedback from clients, other lawyers, and the public at large. We believe in educating our clients and we want to work with client’s that are hands-on and willing to be an active part of the process. It’s great that my first book as well as the information on our website, www.mynjdivorcelawyer.com has helped educate our clients and the public at large on how to effectively navigate our state’s sometimes complex divorce laws and procedure.
However, upon completion of Happily EVEN After I regretted not being able to add more content on the subject closest to my heart: helping business owners through their divorce and limiting the negative impact of a divorce on the business owner or the business itself. That type of information was simply beyond the scope of my first book, which was written as a general guide. So I am now writing this series of blogs aimed specifically at the hard-working business owners of New Jersey.
I hope that this new blog series will prove just as helpful as my book. If you manage your divorce as carefully as you manage your business, then you will be able to get through the process with your personal happiness, your financial health, and your business intact.
Business Owners and Divorce
If you’ve read this far, it is likely you or someone important to you is a business owner considering or already experiencing a New Jersey divorce, separation, custody dispute, or other important family law issue. But you likely won’t view your divorce the way the average person will because you are not a W-2 employee.
Let’s be honest - running a business can be tough on a marriage. It’s often a high-stress way of life that requires endless amounts of time and energy. Then, almost ironically, the fact that you own a business makes your divorce more complex. It’s like you can’t win! But true entrepreneurs rarely give up. By reading this blog series you are taking an important step: one of educating yourself on your important rights (as well as your responsibilities) consistent with a New Jersey Divorce.
As business owners, we often pride ourselves on “playing to win.” But I assure you, divorce is not a game. Indeed, a New Jersey divorce is serious business. The outcome of your case will have wide-reaching impact on your life, your children, your finances, and yes—your business.
Although courtroom procedure and minutia will have to be dealt with, Divorces and family law matters are often a highly personal process that will likely have a great impact upon your future and that of your children. Just as your future changed the day you got married so it will change again the day you or your partner file for divorce and again once the divorce is finalized. You may believe your divorce is an interesting “wizard’s duel” of sorts, but what about the collateral damage to yourself and everyone else around you? Like my book Happily EVEN After, the Guide to Divorce in New Jersey, this blog series will be aimed not only at providing an overview of the law, but also with an eye to imparting information to help you address the emotional components of a divorce.
Divorce is a time when many people lose their sense of self. Many people lose their jobs during the divorce because it impacts their concentration and takes up a great deal of time. As a business owner, you do not have that luxury: your team depends on you. It’s best to understand from the start that a divorce in New Jersey is often a brick-by-brick matter that may take up to a year or more to complete. If you attempt to be measured in your responses and work with an attorney that will do the same, then perhaps you can save yourself a lot of money and a great deal of headaches. Of course, if you’re being pushed around and the other side is not acting in good faith then you’ll have to be more aggressive to neutralize them. Taking the right path can be the difference between losing your sense of self, losing your children, or losing your business---or coming out of the matter relatively unscathed and focused on a brighter future.
Although a lot goes into the divorce process itself, our firm assists business owners like you every day in crafting divorces that will reference your unique future goals. What is your ideal parenting arrangement? What assets will you be entitled to? How can you make sure your Prenuptial Agreement will be Enforced? What type of Alimony and Child Support Should be Paid? What is the appropriate valuation of your business? What if you are a minority owner of the business? These are all decisions that will have a long-term impact on both your life and your business.
When you’re reading this blog series (this being the first post of the series), please take notes as appropriate and feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have. Come back and reference sections of the blog post that apply to you and skip over sections that do not. But more than anything else, when you’re reading this blog series and throughout your divorce write down your ultimate goals and do your best to not lose sight of them.
Our firm’s tagline is “Happily Even After” as a Reminder to Our Clients and Our Firm that Divorce should never be viewed in a vacuum but rather in a global and holistic manner, always keeping a long view toward the future and working towards a breathing document that can address future issues as they arise to avoid costly future litigation.
In our office we have a framed picture of two people in a family law courtroom in the 1990’s (with lawyers and judges present) dividing what must be about a thousand Beanie Babies. They say a picture tells a thousand words, the point of that picture should be self-evident. Do the right thing for yourself and your children, hire the right lawyer, keep informed, don’t lose sight of your goals, and get to your Happily EVEN After as soon as you can. Your quality of life and your business may just depend upon it.