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Property division: Dividing a business during divorce

Many people in Illinois work hard to make the businesses that they own a success. This often involves a great deal of sacrifice -- of both finances and time. If a business owner is married, his or her spouse may also have to sacrifice even if not directly involved in the business. As a result, a business is an important and sometimes complex consideration as part of the property division process if a couple decides to divorce.

In some divorces, a spouse may be entitled to a portion of a business if the business is considered a marital property. The business owner may have to pay the estranged spouse for his or her interest. In some cases, a business might have to be sold to divide it or both spouses may stay involved with the business operations.

A person may deserve even more if it is shown that the business owner invested everything back into the company rather than paying him or herself a wage that would be comparable if employed elsewhere. The estranged spouse could argue that because he or she did not benefit from the business during the marriage, a larger share in the business is appropriate. However, a comparable salary could help avoid this issue.

There are certain legal measures that could help avoid conflict over property division regarding a business. Before a marriage, couples can create a prenuptial agreement that discusses what is considered separate and what is considered to be marital property. If a business is created after a marriage, a postnuptial agreement can help. Fortunately, there are experienced family law attorneys in Illinois who can help a business owner, or the spouse of a business owner, during a divorce fully understand the value of the business and how it will be treated during property division.

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