Starting a business and working for one’s self is a dream shared by many people in North Carolina. But in the midst of creating a business plan and budget, it is easy to overlook a potential stumbling block — divorce. Getting a prenuptial agreement before walking down the aisle is essential, regardless of whether someone has already started his or her business or is simply thinking about doing so in the future.

A small business or startup might not be worth much — if anything — at the beginning of a marriage. In fact, the business owner could even bring a significant amount of debt to the marriage. However, businesses do not always stay small. A carefully worded prenuptial agreement can clearly state how business assets should be treated during divorce, which can protect one person’s hard work. Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos is just one example of what can happen to a person’s business during a divorce.

Prenuptial agreements can also shorten the divorce process for business owners. Prenuptial agreements routinely address things like property division and alimony. With these types of important decisions already accounted for, business owners can better focus on daily operations.

Entrepreneurs in North Carolina work hard to actualize their dreams. Unfortunately, some of that success could end up going to an ex-spouse during divorce, even if he or she did not contribute to running the business. Anyone who is currently running his or her own business or who hopes to start one in the future should carefully consider what might be at stake without a prenuptial agreement.