A person’s interest in a family business can be hotly contested issue during the Illinois divorce process. For one, it can be difficult for a court to determine exactly how much a family business is worth and how much of its value, if any, should be subject to property division. In many cases, establishing the value of a closely held business will require the assistance of an appraiser or other expert.
Moreover, even if a couple can agree on a business’s value, there still can be some important considerations about what to do with a business after a divorce. There can be a lot of contention surrounding this issue. For instance, while one spouse may want to remain involved in the business, the other may want nothing more than to buy the first spouse out and thus part ways in all respects.
What options are available depend a lot on a person’s individual circumstances. Thus, the best thing to do when faced with the prospect of dividing up a business in a divorce is to go over the matter with a seasoned attorney.
Still, to give an overview, a person will have three basic options available to him or her. Perhaps the most dramatic option is for both parties to sell all of their interest in the business and divide the proceeds. In many cases, though, one of the spouses will want to continue to operate the business and use it as a reliable source of income.
The spouse who wants to stay involved in the business will therefore have to buy out the other spouse by coming up with some way to pay off the spouse’s fair share of the business.
In some cases, former spouses may even choose just to keep the status quo and both stay involved in their business together. Of course, this option will require the spouses to be able to get along, at least with respect to the affairs of the business.