Sharing your life with someone else can be an exciting prospect — but what happens when you and your spouse don’t see eye-to-eye about your debts?
Money is often a source of conflict in marriages, especially when one spouse is a “spender” and the other is a “saver.” But those conflicts may escalate in unexpected ways when one spouse suddenly has entrepreneurial ambitions.
Starting a business is expensive. According to the United States Small Business Administration, it can run about $3,000 to get even a “microbusiness” started. If your spouse wants to buy into a home-based franchise, it can cost up to $5,000 just to begin. If your spouse has bigger aspirations, like starting a new restaurant, expect operating costs to run about $10,000 a month — with no guarantee of profitability, especially when first opening.
If your marriage should falter, you could be on the hook for roughly half of any debts your spouse acquires, especially if they’re operating as a sole proprietor (where there’s no division between a business owner’s personal finances and the company’s finances).
That’s a stressful situation. Fortunately, you can protect yourself through the use of a postnuptial agreement. Postnups, just like prenups, set down some rules about how assets and debts are to be handled in the event of a divorce. As long as you aren’t a co-signer on any of the debts, you and your spouse may be able to work out an agreement that will allow your spouse to pursue their dreams without making you quite as anxious over the growing business debts.
If you’re concerned that your spouse’s business aspirations could lead to a breakdown in your marital relationship and leave you stuck with a lot of debt, find out more about how our office can help you craft a workable postnuptial agreement.