How Can I Protect My Business in a Divorce?
Getting a divorce is tough. When it comes to your business, it is not just about the emotional rollercoaster but the legal puzzle. If you are worried you will lose your business in the divorce, it is a good idea to have a business valuation performed. You need an experienced divorce attorney skilled in business valuation on your side. If you and your spouse can maintain a civil relationship, you may negotiate a settlement without heading to court. However, if you anticipate a contentious divorce, it is best to let your Illinois attorney handle the negotiations on your behalf.
What is the Value of Your Business?
In Illinois, businesses are considered property, just like your home. So, if you are going through a divorce, it is essential to figure out how your business fits into the picture and what it is worth. Your first move should be to get a precise and thorough appraisal of your company's value. Whether it is a small home-based business or a larger corporation, an accurate valuation is crucial to determine its worth during the divorce process. Working with a professional business appraiser is key to creating a comprehensive report that covers your business's assets, debts, and current value.
What are My Rights Regarding Ownership?
In Illinois, most property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property. Unless you have legally separated your business through a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, there is a good chance that part or all of your business falls under marital property. This means your spouse has a claim to a share of your business's value. If you choose to retain the company, you may be required to compensate your spouse for their part.
Is My Business a Marital Asset?
Your business may be considered a marital asset if you acquired ownership during your marriage. However, if you started your business before you got married, it does not automatically become a marital asset, though there can be exceptions. In some cases, only a part of your business may be considered marital property, while the rest remains separate and not subject to division. But, here is the game-changer: if you have a valid and enforceable prenuptial agreement, it can shield your business from being divided.
Are There Ways to Keep My Business?
If your business is deemed a marital asset to be divided during your divorce, it does not necessarily mean your spouse will become a co-owner. Here are some options to consider:
- Negotiation – You might be able to negotiate and keep 100 percent ownership of your business while giving up your share of other marital assets. It is essentially a trade-off that can help protect your business.
- Buyout – If you have enough marital or separate funds to cover your spouse's share based on a fair distribution of marital property, a buyout could be an option, and you would pay your spouse for their share, allowing you to keep your business intact.
Schedule A Free Consultation With A St. Charles, IL Divorce Lawyer
When it comes to divorce and business ownership, things can get complex. You need an experienced Kane County, IL divorce attorney. At Shaw Sanders, P.C., we know that understanding the legal aspects and having a clear plan, such as a prenuptial agreement, can make a big difference in preserving your business interests during this challenging time. Call 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.