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Divorce involving a business is complex

Splitting assets is often a contentious and complicated part of the divorce process in Illinois. However, things can get even trickier for people who own businesses. A few tips may help business owners navigate the divorce process in as painless a way as possible.

During a divorce, the court will determine which assets belong to the man, which ones belong to the woman and which ones belong to them both. The individuals' separate assets are essentially those assets that are nonmarital gifts, inheritances that are kept separate or premarital assets. Meanwhile, any assets acquired during the marriage will be distributed equitably.

When a business is part of the equation, the business will fall under the equitable distribution process if it was started during the couple's marriage. A valuation expert will determine the business's value based on factors such as its marketability, its accounts receivables and its actual assets. The business can then be sold, with the net proceeds being split, or one party might choose to buy the other party out. Otherwise, both parties may agree to keep owning the business jointly.

If a business was started before a marriage, a valuator will determine its value on both the date of the couple's marriage and on the date of their divorce filing. He or she will also look at the business's appreciated value, which will be considered during the equitable distribution process. Both parties have the right to pursue a fair settlement when dealing with the division of assets, including a business, during a divorce in Illinois.

Source:, "What happens to my business in a divorce?", Aug. 18, 2015

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