If you own a restaurant, retail store, tech start-up, or another type of business, getting divorced can be especially complicated. As you navigate the emotional and personal challenges of ending your marriage, you will also need to consider the legal and financial implications of divorce on your business. In this blog, we will describe the steps you should take to protect your business when getting divorced. However, each case is different, and business owners are encouraged to work with an experienced divorce lawyer to ensure their legal and financial interests are protected.
Understand the Value of Your Business
One of the first steps you should take during a divorce involving business assets is to get an accurate and comprehensive appraisal of your company. Whether you own a small business you run out of your own home, or a large corporation, it is only possible to properly account for the business's value during divorce with an accurate valuation. Work with a professional business appraiser to develop a thorough report of your business's assets, liabilities, and current value.
Know Your Rights and Obligations Regarding Ownership
Illinois classifies most property acquired during the marriage as marital property. Unless your business is kept separate from the marital estate through a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it is likely that part or all of your business is marital property. This means that your spouse is entitled to a portion of the company's value. If you keep the company, you may be required to compensate him or her for his or her share of the business.
Negotiate Skillfully and Strategically
During the property division negotiation process, it is important to keep your emotions in check and focus on your end goal: resolving your divorce. If you and your spouse are on good terms, you may be able to negotiate a settlement without the need for litigation. However, if you anticipate a contentious divorce, it may be in your best interest to allow your lawyer to handle negotiations.
Document Everything and Keep Accurate Records
Throughout the process of divorce, it is essential to keep accurate records and detailed documentation of all income, expenses, and transactions related to your business. Keep records of your own financial accounts as well. Financial matters during divorce can become extremely complicated, and it is important to keep everything straight and understand what you own and what you owe.