How Do I Protect My Business From My Ex?
By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC
Going through a contested divorce in which asset division has become an extremely contentious issue can be frustrating and challenging for both spouses involved. Under Illinois law, courts will classify property as marital property or separate property. Marital property, which includes both assets and debts of the marriage, will be divisible according to the theory of equitable distribution, while separate or non-marital property will not be divisible.
If you own a business, you likely have concerns about how you can protect your business from your ex, and whether there are any steps you can take to show that your business assets should not be classified as marital property and should not be distributed in your divorce case.
Our Cook County divorce lawyers can help you to protect your business, but in the meantime, we want to provide you with some potential options for protecting your company from your ex-spouse in your divorce.
A Premarital or Postnuptial Agreement Can Protect Your Business Assets
You may be wondering: “how do I protect my business from my spouse?” One of the best and most effective ways to protect your business assets in a divorce case is to enter into a premarital or postnuptial agreement. Such an agreement can ensure that your business assets are classified as separate property and are not eligible for division in your Chicago divorce.
If you are already married, you cannot enter into a premarital agreement. If you do have an existing premarital agreement with your spouse, you should work with a Chicago area divorce lawyer to ensure that your premarital agreement is enforceable according to Illinois law. Yet even if you do not have an existing premarital agreement, you can enter into an agreement after your marriage and before your divorce that is similar: a postnuptial agreement. You should always work with a divorce lawyer on a postnuptial agreement to negotiate the terms and to ensure that the postnuptial agreement is enforceable.
To be clear, in a premarital or postnuptial agreement, you and your spouse can agree that your business will not be subject to division in your divorce.
Demonstrate That Your Business is Made Up of Separate Property
You might also be in a situation where your business is mostly, or entirely, made up of separate property. Such a premise can be complicated to prove in a marriage, particularly if the business was earning income during the marriage (in which case such income would be classified as marital property and subject to distribution unless you and your ex have agreed otherwise in a premarital or postnuptial agreement). However, you may be able to show that you started the business prior to the marriage and that you have only invested separate property into the business. A Cook County area divorce lawyer can say more.
Reach a Settlement Agreement Regarding Your Business Assets
If you are willing to negotiate a settlement agreement with your spouse in which you keep your business in its entirety in exchange for, perhaps, giving up your claim to other marital assets, you might be able to protect your business from your ex-spouse.
Seek Advice from a Cook County Divorce Attorney
When you have questions or concerns about protecting your assets from your ex-spouse, you should seek advice from one of our Cook County divorce attorneys as soon as you can. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC today for more information.