In Illinois, a business started during the marriage, by either or both of the parties, will typically be classified as a marital asset subject to equitable division. If the business was started by a party prior to the marriage, it will be presumed to be non-marital. However, there are circumstances where that presumption can be overcome. Alternatively, the marital estate may be entitled to reimbursement for contributions made to the business during the marriage.

If one party is going to be retaining the business after the divorce, the value of the business will need to be ascertained to effectuate a “buy-out” of the other spouse’s share. This often involves one or both of the parties retaining a professional business valuator to determine the fair market value of the share.

Once that value is determined, the non-owning spouse can receive cash payments or a greater share of the other assets to offset the value of the business. Allocating business interests in a divorce can be a complex process, so it is important to consult with an attorney to make sure your rights and interests are protected.

Shana L. Vitek, Equity Partner
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