Dividing a Family-Owned Business in Divorce

The number of small and closely held businesses continues to increase and many of these businesses are family owned and operated. Having a family-owned business can make a divorce much more complex. Fortunately, our Chicago business dispute lawyers have decades of experience helping business owners value and divide businesses.

When dividing a business in a divorce, courts will generally settle on one of three options. Commonly, the spouse who has invested more time into the family business or has the greater involvement in the business is awarded the company. In these instances, the spouse who is awarded the business is required to compensate the other spouse. Sometimes the court may order the business to be sold to a third party and the divorcing spouses will divide the proceeds of the sale. In rare instances, the court may order the parties or the parties agree to continue to jointly operate the business even after the divorce.

To determine the best method for dividing the business, the court may ask the parties several questions to determine the best course of action including:

  • Did one of the spouses start or own the business before the marriage?
  • What contributions did each party make to the business during the marriage?
  • Were marital assets used to start or invest in the business?
  • Do the parties agree on who should continue to operate the business?
  • What is the reasonable value of the business?
  • Is that value based primarily or largely on the name of one spouse?
  • How did the value of the business change during the marriage?
Business Valuation in Divorce

Typically, the most difficult part of dividing a business in a divorce is determining the reasonable value of the business. This is where an experienced partnership dispute and business divorce attorney can be invaluable. The lawyers at Lubin Austermuehle can assist you with retaining an expert who can perform a valuation of your small or medium-sized business that will determine its reasonable value. We routinely enlist the services of leading experts to handle complex financial matters and who can advise and provide necessary reports, consulting, or expert testimony. Some of the experts commonly used by our firm include forensic accountants, property appraisers and business valuators.

Our attorneys will also perform an evaluation of the facts to determine your marital interest in a family business. The real value of our attorneys’ experience shows brightest in the courtroom. Our business dispute attorneys are able to take the myriad circumstances affecting your business and the expert’s valuation opinion and supporting rationale and convey this information to the court in an effective, clear-cut presentation that is understandable and persuasive.

We are resolute advocates for the people we represent in business disputes in a divorce. We believe strongly that each client has a right to the highest standards of legal excellence. We have been trusted by clients in high-stakes cases to deliver quality service and results. Co-founding attorney Peter Lubin not only has decades of experience before federal and state judges around the country, but he also teaches trial and litigation skills to University of Chicago Law Students and has been featured in local and national publications like the Chicago Tribune and Fox News for their involvement in key cases.

If you are getting a divorce and you own a family business, it is important to protect your rights by speaking with a lawyer. The DuPage County partnership dispute attorneys at Lubin Austermuehle have more than three decades of experience handling business valuation and dissolution disputes both in and out of court. Our Chicago lawyers are experienced litigators who have handled complex partnership and business lawsuits in many different industries or business areas including disputes between partners in law firms, doctors in medical practices, real-estate development partners, accounting firms, franchises and a host of other areas.

Our attorneys are pleased to assist clients throughout the state of Illinois, including the Chicago metro area and DuPage County. We also assist clients in Indiana and Wisconsin. We are committed to fighting for our clients' rights in business divorce cases at both the trial and appellate court levels. To contact an attorney at one of our law offices in Elmhurst or Chicago, Illinois, call 630-333-0333. You may also contact us by e-mail via our webpage.

Client Reviews
I was referred to Peter Lubin from someone in the car business to handle a law suit. From the moment I made the appointment Peter and his staff were outstanding. This wasn't an easy case, most lawyers had turned me down. However, Peter took the time to meet with me and review everything. He took on the case, and constantly communicated with me about updates and case information. We beat this non-compete agreement case in record time. I would use him again and recommend him to my closest family and friends. 5 stars is not enough to thank him for his service. Sebastian R.
I worked on two occasions with Peter Lubin and his staff. They took their time with me and discussed each and every item in detail. The group makes you feel like you are part of the family and not just another hourly charge. I recommend Peter to anyone who asks me for a referral. If you are looking for a top notch attorney at a reasonable rate, look no further than Lubin Austermuehle. Kurt A.
Excellent law firm. My case was a complicated arbitration dispute from another state. Was handled with utmost professionalism and decency. Mr. Peter Lubin was able to successfully resolve the case on my behalf and got me a very favorable settlement. Would recommend to anyone looking for a serious law firm. Great staff and great lawyers! Albey L.
I have known Peter Lubin for over 30 years. He has represented me on occasion with sound legal advice. He is a shrewd and tough negotiator leading to positive outcomes and averting prolonged legal hassles in court. He comes from a family with a legal pedigree and deep roots in Chicago's top legal community. You want him on your case. You need him on your opponents case. He won't stop fighting until he wins. Christopher G.
Peter was really nice and helpful when I came to him with an initial question about a non-compete. Would definitely reach out again, recommended to everyone. Johannes B.