Is My Spouse Entitled to Half My Business in Illinois?

Updated on February 26, 2024
Updated: December 3, 2023

If you are going through a divorce as a business owner, you may be wondering "Is my spouse entitled to half my business in Illinois?" Illinois is not a community property state therefore, a spouse is typically entitled to half of the value of a business under equitable distribution if it was acquired during the marriage.

This means that if one spouse purchased or started the business before getting married, then he or she would retain sole ownership of it as it is a non-marital asset. Similarly, if one spouse inherited the business from a family member, then they would also retain full ownership of it after a legal separation.

Contact Tommalieh Law's divorce attorneys at 708-232-0017 for a free case evaluation! 

What is Marital vs Non-Marital Property?

Marital vs nonmarital property is an important distinction to make when it comes to the division of assets during a divorce process. In Illinois, marital property is any shared asset that has been acquired by either spouse during their marriage.

This includes all income earned during the marriage as well as any assets purchased with marital funds, such as a house or business. Nonmarital property, on the other hand, is any asset that was acquired before the marriage or as a gift or inheritance.

In most cases, the court will divide marital property between both spouses in an equitable manner. This means that each spouse will get a share of the assets based on their contribution to the marriage and other factors such as each spouse’s income, age, health, and need for support.

How Do I Know If a Business Is Marital Property?

When it comes to the division of property in a divorce in Illinois, the court will typically classify any property acquired during the marriage as marital property. This includes businesses and any other assets or investments such as savings accounts and valuable assets, that were acquired during the marriage.

To determine whether a business is considered marital or premarital property, it’s important to consider several factors including when the business was founded, for what purpose, and who funded it. In some cases, a spouse may be able to prove that the business was acquired with nonmarital funds or personal financial contributions. However, it’s important to note that any income or growth from the business will typically be considered marital property and subject to the property division process in a divorce.

If you have questions about your rights regarding a business or property during divorce in Illinois, it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney. An attorney can provide you with more information about the asset division laws in your state and help you understand how they may affect your divorce.

Law book with wedding bands and house keys while two people's hands are in the background reviewing paperwork.

What Valuation Method Is Best For a Business?

When it comes to determining the worth of a business, several different methods can be used. The valuation method chosen will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of business, its financial history, and operating agreements. In Illinois, the most common methods used to value a business for division in divorce proceedings are the income approach, market approach, and asset-based approach.

  • The income approach looks at the potential future income of a business to determine its worth.
  • The market value standard approach used by a business valuation expert looks at similar businesses that have recently been sold or are currently for sale and then adjusts them to reflect any unique characteristics of the business being valued.
  • Lastly, the asset-based approach looks at the value of all tangible assets owned by the business, such as buildings or equipment.

Overall, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney to determine which valuation method may be best for your situation. An attorney can provide you with additional information about business valuations in Illinois and help guide you through the process to ensure you receive your fair share.

What Options Exist For Dividing A Business In Divorce?

When business partner couples in Illinois decide to divorce, they must divide and distribute family unit assets. This includes the division of a business owned by one or both parties. Property division of a business can be complex, and there are several options available for divorcing couples.

The first step is to determine the fair market value of the business. An accountant or other qualified financial professional should be consulted to assess the value of the business. They will look at business-related liabilities, intangible assets, accounts receivable, fixed assets, and existing customer contracts.

After that, you can consider a buyout agreement or a partnership arrangement. A buyout agreement allows one spouse to purchase the other spouse’s share of the business in exchange for a lump sum payment or an agreed-upon payment plan. A partnership arrangement is when both spouses retain joint ownership of the business and continue to run it together, although this is only recommended in certain situations.

Finally, you can sell the business and divide the profits. This option may be the best for couples who don’t want to continue running the business together or who can’t come to an agreement on a buyout.

Regardless of which option you choose, it is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney who can help you navigate the complicated process and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.

How Can I Keep a Business Legally Separate in a Marriage?

If you own a business in Illinois and are married, it is important to take steps to legally protect your business assets in case of divorce. Illinois law requires an equitable division of marital assets, which means that the value of any marital asset may not necessarily be divided equally between spouses. Legal agreements about property division can impact who receives what, including the possibility for one spouse to retain full ownership of a business.

There are several steps you can take to make sure your business remains legally separate, including:

  • Draft a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that specifically addresses the business and how it will be treated in a divorce.
  • Maintain separate financial accounts for the business and keep all personal funds out of the accounts.
  • Create clear documentation of any contributions you have made to the business, such as investments or loans.
  • Keep accurate business records and separate business assets from personal assets.

It is important to keep in mind that any agreements or steps taken to keep a business separate should be done before getting married. Working with an experienced family law attorney can help ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.

Divorce attorney and two spouses reviewing a divorce decree.

Contact an Orland Park Family Attorney today for a free consultation.

When contemplating a divorce and possessing a business in Illinois, it is crucial to comprehend the potential financial consequences of your circumstance. You may be curious about your spouse's entitlement to half of your business in the state of Illinois. The response to this inquiry relies on several factors, including whether the business is deemed marital or separate property, the level of each spouse's contribution to the business during the marriage, and the valuation of the business.

For family legal matters, consult a skilled family law attorney. They'll guide you and protect your rights. Contact Tommalieh Law in Orland Park for a free consultation or call us at 708-232-0017.

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