At least once a week, a headline pops up on the news about Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton getting a divorce. And every single week, one (or both) of them denies that it’s true. Over the past few weeks, however, the focus has shifted slightly to Gina and Pat Neely, the celebrity chef couple, and Reese Witherspoon, whose second marriage is supposedly on the rocks.

But well-to-do (though non-celebrity) couples in Tennessee might do well to follow the impending divorce stories for reasons other than “rubbernecking,” especially the Neelys. That’s because the Neelys have spent more than two decades building a business and a brand together, and the assets of that business will now need to be split equally between them.

Differences affecting high-net divorce

When you and your partner build a life and a business together, the stakes may be a bit higher than if you only purchase, say, a home and a car together. Business assets are divided in different ways than personal assets, and a divorce affects not only you but your shareholders, investors and partners. In the Neelys’ case, they own at least one restaurant, have written a book, created a television show and have spent 20 years building their brand. All of the profits (as well as the debts) from their “empire” must be taken into consideration, and both of them must figure out – financially and otherwise – how to rebrand themselves.

These rumors also bring to light the importance of a pre-nuptial agreement for high-net couples, or a post-nuptial agreement for couples who have become high-net along the way. Both pre- and post-nuptial agreements are designed to protect individual sources of income (such as previously earned wealth, or large inheritances) that should remain with separate parties in case of a divorce. And while no one likes to think about divorce as a possibility, the Paul McCartney/Heather Mills divorce shows us that not signing a pre-nuptial can be devastatingly costly (to the tune of almost $50 million).

Divorce is a private affair, and we wish the best to these couples during what could prove to be a difficult time in their lives. We also hope that couples who own business throughout Tennessee heed a lesson from the headlines, and protect themselves, their children and their futures by taking the right financial steps to protect themselves and their companies should a divorce become a possibility.

If you and your partner own a business in Tennessee and are considering getting a divorce, we can answer your questions and guide you through the process. Please contact Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC today for more information.