The Business of Marriage: Considerations for Married Business Owners

Owning a business is a lifestyle that can impact every area of a person’s life. The impact is uniquely felt within a marriage. Married business owners have unique challenges and must consider the ways in which their marriage may impact their business and vice versa. From time management to liability, the failure to consider these unique issues can have unforeseen consequences. If you are a married business owner (or plan to become married), consider the following:

1. Your spouse’s involvement in your business. Spouses can have a broad range of roles—including co-ownership, serving as an employee, or nothing. Their role can impact:

the dynamics of your relationship,

tax planning,

relationships between owners,

the structure and liability of the entity,

the classification of your property, and

succession planning.

Your spouse’s role in your business, particularly if it is a decision-making role, has a far-reaching impact and should be carefully considered before making any arrangements.

2. Texas family law. Texas family laws affect how your property rights are handled—especially business rights. In Texas, property acquired during the marriage is generally community property. This means that your spouse may have an ownership interest in any business acquired during the marriage—regardless of whether you intend to be the sole owner of that property. Thus, spouses should consider the intended ownership of the business during the marriage, ownership of the business in the event of divorce, and ownership in the event of death.

3. Marital health. This strength of your marriage is critical to planning. If your marriage is on the rocks, you may need to strategically implement legal protections for your business. As described above, circumstances like death, disability, and divorce, if not handled properly, can open up opportunities for a disgruntled ex-spouse to fight for the right to manage the business, sell it, or obtain a share of the property.

If you are married—or intend to be married—and run a business, there are significant legal issues you should consider. We have a team of skilled professionals who can help develop a solid course of action for you and your business. Call our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today.