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Posted on in Property Division

Il divorce lawyerFamily businesses can be difficult to successfully maintain. Some believe that mixing family and business is a recipe for disaster; however, family businesses often become the pride and joy of the owners. Because the businesses are often built from the ground up, it is much more difficult to let them go. This is often a problem that divorced couples who own a family business face. Not only do they have a personal connection to their workplace, but those involved in family businesses often have often invested a lot of time and money into their business. Continue reading to learn about the various options divorced couples have when deciding what to do with their family-owned business.

Your Options

There are a variety of options available to those trying to figure out what to do with the family business while going through a divorce. Every couple’s divorce is different, some being a mutual decision while others happen by surprise. Regardless of the situation at hand, sometimes one has to separate emotions from business no matter how much time and energy they have put into their job.

  1. Continue Owning the Business Together: Though this option does not work for everyone, some choose to continue running their family business in a similar manner. This is more common in couples that are mutually ending their marriage amicably. While you may decide to work different schedules and keep business meetings to a minimum, keeping the family business within the family is an option for some.

  2. Buy Out Your Ex-Spouse: For most couples, working together post-divorce is unhealthy and unreasonable. An option for those who no longer want to be tied together personally or professionally is to have one spouse buy out the other. This will require legal assistance on both sides but is often a relatively quick and easy solution.

  3. Sell the Business: Family-owned businesses are more than just a business to those involved. Memories become tied to the building and the business as a whole, making it extremely difficult to continue working in the environment. Many decide to sell their family businesses and have a fresh start. This can be due to the personal connection or financial burden that the business has once a marriage comes to an end.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyerOnce you determine that your marriage is over, you have a lot to do before and after you file for divorce. One important step is to start working with an experienced divorce lawyer to ensure that your rights and interests are protected and promoted through the divorce process.

The other steps you take before you file for divorce can make a big impact on your divorce’s progress and its ultimate outcome. During your initial consultation with a lawyer, talk about what you can do to streamline the divorce process. Every divorce is unique, but most benefit from taking the following actions:

Separate your Finances and Create Preliminary Property Division Plans

Your marital assets and debts will need to be divided between you and your spouse in your divorce. You can let the court handle the division process on its own or you can be proactive and make your own property division choices. This latter route generally enables the couple to retain greater control over how their property is divided.

One of the simplest steps to take before your divorce is to divide your bank accounts and credit card debt on your own. Transfer the balances on your joint credit cards to separate cards and close the original accounts. You can also do this with checking and savings accounts.

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Illinois divorce lawyerNo matter how you approach your divorce, you will need to work through the division of your marital property. When you divorce through mediation, a neutral third party guides you and your spouse through each issue to be resolved and finalized in your divorce settlement. For many couples, the division of their marital property is the most complex of these issues.

Before you begin working with a mediator, talk to your lawyer about how you should approach your property division. You will need to be your own advocate during the mediation meetings, which can be confusing and overwhelming if you do not completely understand why a specific breakdown of your marital assets is in your best interest.

What Are Your Current Financial Needs?

If you do not make enough money to cover your home’s mortgage and property tax payments on your own, it is probably not in your best interest to fight to retain the house. In this scenario, you might see a much greater benefit by selling the home and splitting the profit with your former spouse. If you receive spousal maintenance, this could be a consideration in your property division. If you are a parent, your parenting plan could also be a point to consider when dividing your assets.

Think of the Future

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyUndoubtedly, when couples decide to file for divorce, two of the most emotionally and mentally draining topics that arise following the decision are the division of property and child custody arrangements. If a couple shares a child, the stress of arranging parenting time is only compounded when the subject of dividing belongings is added to the mix. Everything combined calls for multiple lifestyle changes at once, creating a number of inevitable emotional landmines for everyone involved.

Priorities and Perspectives When Dividing Property

When it comes to dividing property, deciding who gets what after the divorce can be particularly distressing due to the finality that surrounds the task. Splitting belongings is the final step in ending a life that was once shared and beginning a new one, making it an overwhelming, burdensome chore for both parties.

According to studies reported by the American Psychological Association, the moment couples begin weighing the division of property in preparation for a settlement, they approach the subject with different perspectives. These differences ultimately determine their priorities, which often clash when it is time to meet with a mediator or attorney. Studies have shown the following differences between men and women when it is time to negotiate property division:

  • Women tend to focus more on interpersonal goals;
  • Task-specific goals are more typically the focal point for men;
  • Women are more concerned about their relationships with others than men are;
  • Women are more leery of risk at the end of marriage, which may suggest they are more likely to accept smaller settlements; and
  • Women are also more likely to forego monetary benefits than men are due to their cautious nature when it comes to settlements.

Along with these notable differences between men and women regarding their approach to settlement negotiations, other important research indicates there is a general perception of higher value placed on belongings that a party owns personally. For example, a husband or wife may feel less concerned about losing a particular joint savings account versus a brand new car that they personally purchased and placed in their name.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerNo matter which way you slice it, there is nothing fun about the divorce process. Even under the most civil, loving circumstances, the actual split and all it entails can be emotionally - and financially- draining. One area most people do not like to think about but are confronted with very early on in the process is money. Regardless of how peaceful the separation, the subject of money can test anyone’s patience and place them on the defensive, especially when it involves their lifestyle and livelihood following the divorce.

When it comes time to protect your quality of life and all you are accustomed to at the end of your marriage, how you handle your assets is critical. Even the smallest mistake can cost you a lot when it is time to negotiate settlements, and if you’re not careful, some errors can continue to cost you long after the divorce is over.

Here are three ways you could end up hurting your assets and their value when you divorce:

1. Keeping joint accounts

One way you can do serious damage to your funds when you decide to separate is to keep all of your accounts connected. For example, if you and your spouse share checking and savings accounts, credit cards, auto loans, or a mortgage loan, having your name on any of those accounts makes you liable in the event something goes wrong. If your spouse misses a payment on your mortgage, you are held responsible. If you have money tucked away into a savings account and both your names are on the account, all it takes is one heated disagreement for your spouse to potentially drain the account of those funds. Close joint accounts and separate your finances now. Do not wait for the divorce to be finalized or until an argument surfaces, placing your money at risk.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyOne of the most technically difficult parts of a divorce can be the dividing of the marital property. Before the work of dividing the assets can even be started, the assets must receive a valuation.

How Marital Property Is Divided

Illinois considers all property, with a few exceptions, acquired after the date of the marriage to be marital property. Unless the two sides come to an agreement on their own, a judge is required by law to divide the property equitably. This means studying all the relevant factors and dividing the property fairly. This does not necessarily mean the property is divided equally.

How Much of the Value of an Asset Is Marital Property?

Some assets, such as a business or retirement account, may have been acquired before the marriage. However, most likely any increase in value to these assets after the date of the marriage may be considered marital property.

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