You may have launched your Illinois business before you met and married the love of your life. Then again, perhaps you initiated a startup after your wedding day, maybe even years after you’d been married. Either way, if you’re now contemplating filing for a divorce, there are several business issues to keep in mind to ensure that you protect your assets when it comes time for property division proceedings.
Wanting to protect your financial interests in divorce doesn’t mean that you are trying to get more than your spouse or that you don’t care whether he or she receives a fair settlement. It merely means that you’ve worked hard to build a sustainable business and want to make sure you implement all available options to retain all that you’re entitled to when you and your spouse go your separate ways.
Issues that may cause a more complex case
When you got married, you weren’t expecting your relationship to end, so you might not have taken legal precautions to protect your business assets in case of a divorce. The following list includes numerous business-related issues that can present challenges when trying to achieve a fair settlement:
- You never signed a prenuptial or post-nuptial contract.
- Your business existed before marriage, but you’ve used marital monies to keep it going.
- You haven’t legally established separate ownership of your business.
- Business and personal expenses haven’t been kept separate.
- You have paid yourself a salary that is inconsistent with and far below market standards.
If you, in fact, did sign a prenuptial agreement, have never mingled marital funds with your business, have kept personal expenses and business expenses separate at all times and have paid yourself and/or your spouse a competitive wage that aligns with current market standards, you can reasonably expect smoother sailing during property division proceedings.
Think ahead and know how to respond to problems that arise
Especially when business assets are at stake in a divorce, the last thing you want to do is show up in court unprepared. It’s always best to know as much as possible about Illinois property division guidelines. It’s also helpful to clearly define your needs and ultimate goals that you hope to achieve in a settlement.
Unexpected issues can cause a lot of stress in a divorce, such as if your spouse were to try to hide assets to keep them from being subject to division, or he or she refuses to cooperate regarding child custody or visitation, if you are parents. It’s help to know where to reach out for additional support should you encounter an issue that you don’t feel equipped to handle on your own.