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DuPage County Divorce Attorney Protects Professional Practices

Plainfield professional practice division attorney

Lawyers for Protection of Family Businesses in Naperville and Will County, Illinois

Your divorce is likely to impact nearly every aspect of your life. Some divorcing spouses may find that their career will be mostly unaffected, as long as they are able to continue working without interruptions. However, if you or your spouse own a family business or professional practice, you will probably be unable to avoid having it play some role in your divorce. When you have built a business or practice from the ground up, you will not want to see that effort go to waste, and since it provides important income for your family, you will probably want to do everything you can to keep it running. To ensure that business-related matters are addressed correctly, it is crucial to secure representation from a skilled family law attorney.

The Law Office of Ronald L. Hendrix, P.C. provides high-quality legal help to divorcing spouses, including assistance with complex divorce issues involving businesses and other high-value assets. Our lawyers have over 35 years of combined experience, and we can work with you to identify any concerns related to your professional practice and determine how to handle these matters in a way that ensures your business can remain intact.

Ownership of Family Businesses and Professional Practices

If you or your spouse founded a professional practice before the two of you got married, it will usually be considered separate property that will continue to be solely owned by that spouse. However, if you started a business while you were married, either together or separately, it will be considered marital property, and it will need to be considered during the property division process. In these cases, a business valuation will need to be performed to determine what the practice is worth and ensure that all marital assets can be divided fairly and equitably.

When addressing ownership of a professional practice, divorcing spouses may use one of the following options:

  • One spouse "buys out" the other spouse's share of the business - The spouse who is most closely involved in operating a professional practice may purchase the other spouse's share of business interests. This may be done through a monetary transfer at the time of divorce, or the other spouse may receive a larger share of other marital assets. In some cases, a payment plan may be set up to allow one spouse to pay off the amount owed over time.
  • The spouses continue to co-own the business - If a couple can get along and cooperate following their divorce, they may be able to continue working together to co-manage a professional practice. In these cases, a comprehensive partnership agreement should be created that defines each party's roles and responsibilities and states how any future disputes will be resolved. The agreement may also include terms specifying when one party may buy out the other party's share of the business in the future.
  • Sell the business - This is generally a last resort, if no other agreements or arrangements can be settled on by the parties. For professionals such as doctors, accountants, or attorneys, it may not always be possible to fully divest themselves from their practice and sell it to a new owner. In a professional business, the spouse-owner's contribution may be of a "personal services" nature, and a "goodwill" value may be established in the professional business that only exists due to the spouse-owner's presence or involvement in the business. However, if it is not financially feasible to keep a business open after dividing marital assets, closing the practice down and selling its assets may be the best option. The spouses can then divide any proceeds made from the sale. 

Because your professional practice represents a large investment of your money, time, and effort, you will likely want to do everything you can to protect it during your divorce. In many cases, the best way of doing so is to make decisions about ownership of your business before divorce ever becomes a possibility. If your practice was founded during your marriage, a postnuptial agreement can be used to specify how business interests will be owned by you and/or your spouse if your marriage ends.

Contact a Will County Complex Divorce Lawyer

You will want to make sure you can start your post-divorce life on the right foot, and this means you will most likely want to continue owning and operating a professional practice that will ensure that you can earn an income and provide for your family. Our attorneys will work with you to determine the value of your practice and your options for dividing marital assets. We can help you reach a divorce settlement that will meet your needs. Contact us at 630-416-7004 or 815-722-7050 to set up a free consultation. We provide legal help to divorcing spouses in Bolingbrook, Naperville, Plainfield, and throughout DuPage County, Kendall County, Will County, and Kane County.

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