Starting a business is a significant milestone that requires careful consideration, planning, and execution. If you are considering starting a business with your spouse, it can be an exciting opportunity to work together and build something meaningful. However, before embarking on this journey, it’s essential to understand the pros and cons of owning a business with your spouse.

Pros of Owning a Business with Your Spouse

  1. Shared Vision and Goals: When you own a business with your spouse, you share a common vision and goals. This makes it easier to align your efforts and work towards the same objectives.
  2. Complementary Skills: Your spouse may have skills and strengths that complement your own, which can be beneficial for the success of the business.
  3. Stronger Personal Relationship: Owning a business together can bring you closer as a couple, as you share the challenges, rewards, and experiences of entrepreneurship.
  4. Better Work-Life Balance: As business partners, you can create a schedule and work environment that suits your family’s needs, giving you more control over your work-life balance.

Cons of Owning a Business with Your Spouse

  1. Risk to Personal Relationship: Running a business with your spouse can be stressful and challenging, which can put a strain on your personal relationship.
  2. Limited Perspective: Working with someone who shares your perspective can limit your ability to consider different viewpoints and strategies.
  3. Difficulty Separating Work and Personal Life: Owning a business with your spouse can make it challenging to separate work and personal life, which can be overwhelming and stressful.
  4. Legal and Financial Implications: Starting a business with your spouse can have legal and financial implications, such as tax considerations, liability, and asset ownership.

Tips for Owning a Business with Your Spouse

If you have decided to start a business with your spouse, it’s important to take a few precautions to ensure that your business and personal relationships remain healthy and successful.

  1. Set Clear Roles and Responsibilities: Clearly define each person’s roles and responsibilities to avoid confusion and conflict.
  2. Communicate Effectively: Communication is key in any business partnership, and even more so when working with a spouse. Ensure that you have open and honest communication to avoid misunderstandings and resentment.
  3. Keep Business and Personal Finances Separate: Ensure that you keep business and personal finances separate to avoid any legal or financial complications.
  4. Establish Boundaries: It’s important to establish boundaries between your work and personal life. Make time for your relationship outside of work and avoid letting work take over your personal life.


Owning a business with your spouse can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before embarking on this journey. By understanding the risks and taking the necessary precautions, you can build a successful business while maintaining a healthy personal relationship. Ultimately, it’s up to each couple to decide if owning a business together is the right choice for them.

Video Transcript

In this video, you will get answers to these questions:

  • What Factors Determine Whether a Business Should Be Owned by Both Spouses?
  • Who Will Be Signing The Documents?
  • Does Joint Ownership Affect Your Tax Returns?
  • In a Divorce, Is a Business Owned by Both Spouses Divided Evenly?
  • In a Divorce, Who Gets A Business Owned by One Spouse?
  • Does It Matter If the Spouses Signed A Prenuptial Agreement?

Should you own a business with your spouse? You will get the answer to that question today, as well as some answers to the questions like, what factors determine whether a business should be owned by both spouses? Who will be signing the documents? Does joint ownership affect your tax returns? In a divorce, is a business owned by both spouses divided evenly? In a divorce, who gets a business owned by one spouse, and does it matter if the spouses signed a prenuptial agreement?

I am Aaron Hall, an attorney for business owners and entrepreneurial companies. I create these videos for business owners like you to help you spot issues to discuss with your attorney, to help you avoid legal problems, and to generally help you grow a great company. If you have not yet received my free cheat sheet, “Seven Common Legal Mistakes Made by New Businesses,” you can download it free at Just enter your email address there, and I will email you the cheat sheet, plus I will send you some occasional educational resources and other quality resources from time to time.

Should You Own a Business With Your Spouse?

Generally, no. I do not usually recommend that a husband and wife both own the business. And I will explain a little bit more as we move on here. But as a general rule, it is not a good idea. Of course, there are always some exceptions that might be out there, and we will talk about some of those exceptions here.

What Factors Determine Whether a Business Should Be Owned by Both Spouses?

Again, there are exceptions out there, but one of the big factors I will look at is this: Who will be signing the documents? Will the husband sign the documents? Will the wife sign the documents?

Who Will Be Signing The Documents?

Whoever that person is, generally is going to be the president or at least an officer of the company. And often it makes sense to have them be the sole owner of the company. Now, there might be times when the company needs to be owned by a woman so that it is minority-owned, and in doing so, you might have an advantage in government contracts. So that is one example of where perhaps you would have just the woman own the company, even if the husband is the one that is generally signing contracts for the company or checks or payroll, things like that. But normally, the person who signs for the company is going to be the best owner of the company.

Does Joint Ownership Affect Your Tax Returns?

Yes. If you have two owners, then the company generally needs to do a K-1 or a comparable tax return or filing. And as a result, it just creates a little more work to have more than one owner of a company.

In a Divorce, Is a Business Owned by Both Spouses Divided Evenly?

Not necessarily. So, there are two scenarios we can talk about here. Scenario number one is where the company is owned just by the wife, and if the wife then decides to get a divorce, does she get to keep the company? In most states, the answer is no, it is divided like any other marital asset, 50-50.

So, what do you do about a company that maybe can’t be split evenly, or maybe the partners do not want to have the company owned by both of them? That might be a problem. If they do not get along in the marriage, maybe they can’t get along in the company. Well, maybe it gets valued, and then one spouse gets it, and the other spouse gets other marital assets of the same value. Think about a piano, for example. If a couple owns a single piano, and that piano gets valued at $3,000, the person who plays the piano might say, “I want the piano,” and then the other spouse can get $3,000 worth of some other assets. So, that is usually how a company is divided.

In a Divorce, Who Gets A Business Owned by One Spouse?

It does not matter in most states and jurisdictions whether the company was owned by one spouse or both spouses because the general rule is that anything owned during the marriage, whether it is a piano or a company, it is owned by both couples equally. So they need to figure out a way to divide up those marital assets.

Does It Matter If the Spouses Signed A Prenuptial Agreement?

That can be a little tricky. and here is why: Let’s say, you have a fiancé who owns a company, and she has her fiancé sign a prenuptial agreement. So, that prenuptial agreement says he will not get anything that she has walking into the marriage, and she has a company. Well first off, if they get divorced a year later, and there is no increase in value in the company, generally speaking, assuming that a prenuptial agreement is enforced, that company goes right back to the wife and they basically keep what they had going into the relationship. But usually what happens, is that the company grows in value. Let’s say they get divorced 20 years later, and now that company has grown from being worth $30,000 to $3,000,000. Does the wife get the whole company? It is not an easy answer, but in most states, the answer is no. To the extent any asset increased in value during the marriage, it is considered a marital asset, which means it is owned by both spouses. So typically in most states, the wife would get the first $30,000 or whatever the company was worth at the time that she got married. But to the extent the company grew in value, 50 cents of every dollar is counted towards each of the spouses, or it is considered that the whole dollar is a marital asset. So, that increase in value is part of the marital estate and typically is then divided by a court or by the parties.


So, should you own your own business with your spouse? Usually, the answer is no. There is virtually no benefit in most circumstances; exceptions might include if the company is minority owned. So usually, I encourage people to just keep it simple. Pick one of the spouses, whoever is going to be running the company, and have them own it. Now, there may be some other tax considerations, and this is a great area to discuss with a CPA or an attorney before relying on general educational information like this that you found on YouTube.

If you haven’t received it yet, make sure you get the, “Seven Legal Mistakes Made by New Businesses.” It can be found at If you would like more educational videos like this, you are welcome to subscribe to this channel. You can thumbs up if it is helpful, and thumbs down if you want fewer videos like this. And if you have follow-up questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section. I am happy to review those. And those comments, I often use those to create new video topics in the future. Again, I am Aaron Hall. You can learn more at