Using pre-nups to protect company in event of a divorce

By Lenore Rice

Pre-nuptial agreements are increasingly prominent among business owners in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK in recent months, as people take action to make sure developments in their private life do not spill into their business.

During a divorce the family court can order assets to be transferred between spouses, including shares owned in a family company. Depending on the size of the business, and the number of shareholders, this means that divorce can be a very real threat to the structure of the company. You may have your shares protected by a pre-nuptial agreement with your spouse, but what about the other shareholders. You cannot of course insist on such arrangements so larger businesses need to consider other action, such as amending the Articles of the company to protect shares in the event of a divorce.

Where the business consists entirely of family members with shares then it is easier to have a conversation about pre-nuptial agreements. If drafted correctly these will be respected by the family law courts and are an effective tool for protecting company shares and other assets.

If you would like to speak to a family law solicitor specialising in divorce and pre-nuptial agreements in Northern Ireland, contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by clicking here.