Divorce Lawyer in Illinois for Business Owners
When a couple divorces in Illinois, their debt and marital property – the property they have accumulated and shared during their marriage – is subject to property distribution. Depending on your jurisdiction, it is either split equally (community property states) or equitably (equitable distribution states). Sometimes, marital property includes a business that the couple started together or, alternatively, one spouse started either before or during the marriage and continued to grow during the marriage. The business, under these circumstances, will also likely become subject to property division unless you take steps to safeguard it.
At January Family Law, LLC, our divorce attorneys in Cook and Lake Counties understand the time, passion, and commitment you put into starting and developing a business. We know you don't want to compromise that hard work in any shape or form. There are steps you can take, and our divorce lawyers will explain how to protect your business during a marriage or during a divorce. Call us at (312) 970-0013 to set up a consultation today.
How Will a Divorce Affect My Business in Illinois?
A divorce can affect every aspect of your life, including your business. How your business is affected will depend on a number of factors, including the law of the state that has jurisdiction.
Some states are community property states which means that you may either have to:
- split the business with your spouse, or
- give your spouse other compensation equal to half of the value of the business.
Other states use equitable distribution when dividing property. In these states, property is divided equitably or fairly between the parties. This may or may not be half of the business. Even so, it is likely you will be expected to give up at least part of the business, or its value, to your spouse.
Following are some other factors that must be considered regardless of whether you live in a community property state or equitable distribution state.
Who Owns the Business
Did you or your spouse inherit the business from family? Is it clear that only one spouse supported and worked at the business? These are both considerations that may help determine how a business will be divided in a divorce.
When Was the Business Started
If the business was formed prior to marriage, there are states that will maintain that it is premarital property and therefore not subject it to division. Also consider that in some states even if the business was started before marriage by one spouse, if the other spouse contributes to the business after marriage, it may be considered marital property, and therefore subject to being divided between the parties.
When a business was started during the marriage, it will most likely be considered marital property and therefore subject to division under the rules of the state with jurisdiction.
Ways to Proactively Protect Your Business in Illinois
Fortunately, there are ways to protect your business so that you may not lose it, or part of it, in divorce proceedings. The best way to approach business protection depends on whether or not you are contemplating marriage and want to protect your interests, or if you are already married and fear a future divorce may harm your business.
Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
While no one wants to go into a marriage contemplating a divorce, it really is in your best interest to plan for the “what ifs” when you have a successful business you need to protect. A prenuptial agreement may help you do just that. It is an agreement made by two engaged parties wherein they address how assets will be divided in case of divorce. You are able to state in this agreement whether the business is even considered marital property and, therefore, whether it would be subject to division.
A postnuptial agreement operates much like a prenuptial agreement, however it is entered into after marriage rather than before it.
Keep Your Business Safe: Get a Divorce Lawyer in Cook and Lake Counties
Even with any of the safeguards in place, a non-titled spouse may still pose a challenge to your business. They may try to inflate their contributions or obtain an appraisal that overvalues the business. The latter, at a minimum, is why having a divorce lawyer who is resourceful and knowledgeable is key to countering these tactics.
At January Family Law, LLC, our Illinois divorce attorney for business owners will provide you with all your legal options and help you keep your business intact. Contact us at (312) 970-0013 to schedule a consultation today. With the right lawyer, you can walk away from your marriage with your livelihood protected and your hard work secured.