Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.
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Dealing with a family business in property division

Divorce in Illinois, under any circumstances, can be a challenging process to navigate. While the best advice might be to handle property division negotiations as a business transaction, it could be tough to keep emotions at bay. This applies especially if there is a family enterprise involved.

When determining each spouse's fair share of a family business, some questions will need answers. Did one spouse already own the company before the marriage, and if so, what was it worth at the time of the nuptials? How much did the value increase during the marriage, and how much did each party invest in it before and during the marriage? The extent of each spouse's involvement in the business will also be an essential aspect to consider.

Illinois is an equitable distribution state in which the spouses split assets in a manner that is fair in the eyes of the law. Once these questions are answered, the couple can leave it up to the court to decide how to split the business, or they can negotiate their own settlement agreement. In many cases, one party buys the other's interest in the business by arranging a payment plan with installments to be paid over time, or that party may trade other marital assets in exchange.

A couple could also choose to sell the business and split the proceeds. Property division decisions made during these negotiations can have a significant impact on the post-divorce financial stability of both parties. For that reason, many choose to seek the guidance and support of an experienced divorce attorney who can explain the applicable laws in Illinois along with the pros and cons of each option. This could allow the client to make informed choices.

Source:, "4 Ways to Reduce the Impact of Divorce on a Small Business", Shawn Leamon, Accessed on March 2, 2018

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Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.
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