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Protecting Your Business in a Divorce

Hammering out divorce terms is rarely easy, but if there is a business involved, you can expect the process to be exceptionally complicated. Protecting the business you’ve poured your heart and soul into is obviously paramount, and having an accomplished Illinois divorce attorney with extensive experience handling these complicated cases in your corner can make a world of difference.

Is My Business Marital Property?

In the State of Illinois, marital property is divided equitably – or fairly – in the event of a divorce. Marital property refers to any assets, such as a business, that you acquired during the course of your marriage. This means that if you started your business while you were married, it is very likely marital property (except under very exacting circumstances). This does not, however, mean that you are going to have to sell your business and split the proceeds straight down the middle. The law understands that a business’s value can be greater than the sum of its parts (when sold), and the court will likely allow you to come up with an alternative to selling out. Options can include:

  • Making up for your spouse’s ownership with other assets (if possible)
  • Buying your spouse’s ownership out over time
  • Obtaining a loan or other financing to purchase your spouse’s percentage of the business up front

An important component of this division is establishing a value for the business that you are both willing to sign off on, which can be quite a feat in and of itself. 

Is My Business Separate Property?

In Illinois, separate property is that property that either of you brings into the marriage and keeps separate throughout. If you owned your business prior to your marriage and you have either a binding prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place that specifies its separate nature, your business is likely well-protected. Without such a contract, however, you must have kept your business separate throughout the course of your marriage for it to be separate property, and this can be a tall order. Any of the following can negate or modify the separate nature of your business:

  • Having used family funds to help finance and/or grow your business
  • Having intermingled your business and family financials
  • Having run your business without paying yourself a fair wage, which translates to a decrease in your family’s earnings 

Further, even if you carefully kept your business separate throughout your marriage, any increase in its value is very likely marital property. The best way to protect your business in a divorce is to work closely with an experienced Illinois divorce attorney. 

Reach out to an Experienced Illinois Divorce Attorney Today

Divorce is complicated, but a divorce involving a business is more so. The formidable Illinois divorce attorneys at Demetrios N. Dalmares & Associates, Ltd., have the experience, drive, and legal skill to help protect your interest in your business throughout the divorce process. We’re on your side, so please don’t wait to contact us and schedule your free initial consultation today.

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