location 166 W. Washington St., Ste. 400, Chicago, IL 60602
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George Skuros
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phone 312-884-1222

Chicago, IL Business Valuation Attorney

Mount Prospect business owner divorce attorney

Divorce Lawyer for Division of Business Assets in Cook County and Surrounding Areas

The stakes of a divorce can be especially high for business owners, especially when it comes to the division of marital property. Not only does a business often have significant value, but it can also serve as a person's livelihood and primary source of income. A successful business can also symbolize many years of hard work and personal investment, and the threat of losing it in a divorce can be deeply concerning.

If you have business assets that may be subject to division in your divorce, you need an attorney who can help you understand your options. At The Law Offices of George J. Skuros, we have decades of experience representing Chicago area clients in divorces involving complex financial situations. When we represent you, we strive to provide you with a realistic prognosis so that you know what to expect throughout the divorce process, and to keep you fully informed as we help you work toward a resolution that protects your interests.

When is a Business Considered a Marital Asset?

Under Illinois law, assets acquired by either spouse during a marriage are typically considered marital property and thus subject to division in the event of a divorce. This means that a business could qualify as a marital asset if it was a new venture started by one or both spouses while they were married, or if it was an existing business purchased by one or both spouses during the marriage. It is not necessary for both spouses to play an active role in business operations in order for a business to be considered marital property.

On the other hand, there are plenty of situations in which businesses are not considered to be part of the marital estate. For example, if you founded or acquired your business before getting married, it may remain your own separate property. The same may be true if you were careful to invest only your own, non-marital assets in a business during your marriage, or if you became a business owner through an inheritance or gift. Keeping detailed records can help you demonstrate the non-marital nature of business assets and better protect them during your divorce.

Options for Valuing Your Business

During the divorce process, it is common for both spouses to obtain a valuation of any relevant business assets to provide information and leverage that can be used in property division negotiations. We can work in conjunction with knowledgeable financial experts to help you obtain reasonable valuations using a variety of methods. If businesses similar to yours are frequently sold and acquired, or if you own shares of a business that are publicly traded, it may be possible to take a market value approach based on comparable transactions. Owners of smaller family businesses may be better served by a book value or liquidation value that considers the business's assets and liabilities, or an earning-based value that considers the income the business will generate in the future.

Addressing Your Business in Property Division Negotiations

In order to retain the greatest control over what happens to your business assets in the divorce, your best option is usually to try to negotiate a fair distribution with your spouse. You may be able to keep your business in the divorce if you can buy out your spouse's share with other marital assets, like your home or assets held in financial accounts, that have a value roughly equal to the value of the business. If keeping your business results in a skewed distribution, you could agree to provide your spouse with regular maintenance payments. Depending on your relationship with your spouse, you could reach an agreement in which you both continue to own a portion of the business, perhaps even acting as business partners after your marriage ends. As with many other marital assets, selling a business is also an option that can simplify the property division process.

Contact a Park Ridge, IL Business Property Division Lawyer

Properly valuing your business and preparing for the divorce process takes time, and we can help you get started as soon as possible. Contact us at 312-884-1222 today for a free consultation. We serve business owners in Chicago, Schaumburg, Inverness, Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect, Des Plaines, Park Ridge, and throughout Cook County and the surrounding areas.

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