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Focus: on husband-wife business teams: It's key to plan ahead

"No couple contemplates splitting the baby."

So says Frank Jaffe, a certified financial planner who notes that, when about to establish a husband-wife business enterprise, few couples think of anything other than how they might best grow their operation and prosper over the long term.

Truly, and at such an exciting juncture, how many fledgling entrepreneurs spent inordinate amounts of time -- if, indeed, any time at all -- thinking of the potential downside related to their business in the event that divorce looms down the road or becomes a flat-out certainty?

Jaffe admits that even he does not routinely counsel a married couple with a business to consider divorce-related business contingencies, being fixated on things like death and disability instead.

Still, and as Jaffe notes, careful planning is preferable "while the couple is happily married [rather] than after the marriage implodes."

Well, that is certainly true, although, as we have noted in past select blog posts, some partners -- for any number of reasons -- are still loathe to discuss and negotiate prenuptial or postnuptial agreements.

Then again, an increasingly large number of couples aren't so hesitant, with the result being that marital contracts are becoming ever more common.

Where a family owned business exists, such a focus can simply make strong sense. Without a plan in place, there may be no process to handle newly emerging business challenges. Who will continue to run the business? How might a buyout work? Should a couple simply sell an operation outright? Can a divorced couple even continue working together in a given case?

"Plan ahead," counsels Jaffe.

That sounds like good advice, which will obviously pay dividends down the road if, indeed, business concerns arise relating to a divorce.

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