Chicago Divorce Lawyers for Business Owners
Running a successful business can be stressful and time consuming and put strain on a marriage. When divorce is the right solution, there are special considerations and the process can become more complicated if a business is part of the marital assets. Our Chicago divorce attorneys excel in negotiation and litigation of complex business owner divorce cases.
Divorce involves resolution of important matters that impact the well-being of all parties involved, including minor children. Common issues when business owners divorce include:
- Protecting the business: Future value and viability of your business will be a major concern in your divorce. Illinois is an equitable division state, which means marital property is not split 50/50, but rather divided equitably – in a way that is fair to both parties. Your business may be deemed marital property, particularly if it was established or grew in value during the marriage. In that case, it could be subject to equitable distribution. It is critical to have guidance from an experienced legal professional to help protect the future of your business.
- Spousal support: In any high net worth divorce, spousal support is more likely to be an issue. If the gap between one spouse’s income and future prospects and the other’s is significant, the court may award spousal support to the lower-earning spouse. The longer the duration of the marriage and the greater the career-related sacrifices of the lower-earning spouse (such as staying home to care for children), the greater the chances of that spouse receiving alimony.
- Child custody and visitation: Owning and operating a business often requires long hours and an inconsistent work schedule. Your career obligations could be a factor in allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time – child custody and visitation. It is important to protect your parental rights when you are going through a divorce.
If it is determined that your business is included in the marital property, it becomes subject to equitable distribution. The best way to divide a business can depend in part on what role each spouse plays in its operation. To begin with, you will need a business valuation to establish its value as a marital asset. This detailed analysis of the business by an independent professional is an essential step for equitable division. There are several ways to approach division of a business, for example:
- One spouse gets the entire company and the other spouse gets property of similar value (such as the marital home): This may be the best solution if one spouse is not involved or interested in operating the business.
- The company’s assets are divided equitably between the spouses: In this case, one spouse can buy the other out.
- The business is sold and the proceeds are split between the parties: With this option, you would not be able to continue operating the business.
- Both parties continue in business operations together after the marriage has ended: This approach works best if both parties are able to get along well after a divorce.
There are several ways to protect the future of your company against a divorce. Get your spouse to sign a prenuptial agreement that allows you to maintain absolute ownership of the business you started. Another option is to have your spouse sign a postnuptial agreement stating that he or she has no interest in the business.
At Nottage and Ward, LLP, we focus our practice exclusively on divorce and family law. We have the knowledge, skills, and resources to provide expert guidance through every stage of a business owner’s divorce, from pre-trial strategy to negotiation to settlement and/or litigation. Contact our Chicago business owner divorce lawyers at (312) 332-2915.
- Options for Divorcing Couples That Are Business Co-owners
- The Business of Divorce
- Business Valuation and Divorce
- The Importance of Pre-Nuptial Agreements for Married Couples Who Own a Business
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Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for
Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for in a very complicated, emotional matter. She has continuously looked out for my best interest and the best interest of my son. She is always prompt in getting back to me and in keeping me well informed about my case.
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