If you will be going through a divorce and are self-employed, you must understand that you will be identified as a business owner. As such, it’s in your best interests to do everything possible to protect your business and source of income.

To start with, you want to optimize the options you have available. That means thinking as creatively as possible in terms of protecting your assets and getting through your divorce peacefully. By looking into some alternative approaches to your divorce, you’ll be in a better position to protect yourself.

Assess your marital property

To start with, it’s a good choice to assess your marital property and what will or will not be included in the separation of your assets. If there are business items that could be divided, then you want to negotiate with your spouse to keep them in your possession. The best way to do that is by negotiating directly, either by talking to one another outside court, going through mediation or considering arbitration. If you go to trial, the judge will have the final choice on how your assets are divided.

To help prevent your property from being given to your spouse, make sure you list everything you use for your self-employment. Having this list available for the judge could help you have those items awarded to you if you and your spouse can’t agree on the separation of assets on your own.

Alimony is also tricky for the self-employed, because it can be hard to know how much you’re going to earn this month, let alone this year or next. When calculating alimony, you and your spouse may need to sit down and discuss the real possibilities moving forward. It’s possible to base alimony on two or more years of combined income and to divide it to find an average, or you can base it on this year’s income and adjust as needed with a modification request in court.

No divorce is easy, whether you’re a business owner or someone who is relying on your partner to provide alimony in the future. If you and your spouse can sit down together and calmly go through your finances, you may be able to find a way to resolve your alimony and property division concerns without having to risk allowing a judge to make a determination on their own.