Can you work with your ex at the family business after divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2022 | Divorce |

For many divorcing couples in Illinois, a small business can be a financial complication. The spouse not involved with the business will likely want some of its value in the property division proceedings. Equitable distribution rules mean that even a spouse whose name isn’t on company ownership documents may have a right to some of its value.

Agreeing about what the company is worth and how much each spouse should receive of its value can be a major decision. For some couples, deciding what to do with the business will be more complex than that. Both spouses may have equally invested in the company or may depend on it for their ongoing income.

Can you and your ex agree to retain joint ownership of the business even after your divorce?

In rare cases, shared ownership is possible after divorce

Even if you and your spouse want to keep things amicable, seeing each other every day can make moving on after divorce more difficult and your workplace a source of stress. You need to be honest about whether you can handle the emotional strain of working alongside your ex and whether they will handle such a situation appropriately.

Upon careful reflection, you may realize that it would be a better option to move on in your career or to ask your spouse to consider doing so. If you believe that you can work well together and continue to achieve business success, you may need to carefully spell out your rights and obligations to one another and the business.

Not only do you need to address the business appropriately in your property settlement agreement, but you will also need to consider drafting contracts that protect you even after the divorce.

Moving on doesn’t necessarily mean losing out on a business’s value

There are many potential solutions that can work for couples who have run a business together during their marriage. Retaining joint ownership and continuing to work together can be a viable option with the right legal protections and a good working relationship. One spouse buying the other out can work for certain families.

Thinking about your future can help you make the best choices when planning for an Illinois divorce.