Minding Your Business – Why A Prenuptial Agreement May Make Sense When You Own Your Own Company In Chicago
When most couples get engaged, the last thing that they think about is what their potential divorce will look like. In the throes of being newly engaged and enjoying time as fiancés, most couples look towards planning their nuptials and honeymoon, not the end of their marriage and a division of their lives. However, there are important considerations that Chicago couples should think about before they say “I do”, even if they are considered “unromantic” things, or not fun to talk about. One of those things is whether a prenuptial agreement makes sense. For business owners who have worked independent of their spouse-to-be and have built their business themselves, a prenuptial agreement may not just be a good idea, but a lifesaver in the case that the marriage ultimately goes south.
Prenuptial Agreements for Business Owners – What Can They Protect?
At the outset, it is important for couples who are engaged, and particularly business owners, to understand how property and asset division work in Chicago divorces. In Chicago, under Illinois marriage and divorce laws, if there is no prenuptial agreement in place, the couple must agree on the division of property and assets post-divorce, or leave it up to a judge to determine. If one individual in the marriage is a business owner, the court must analyze whether the business is truly separate property – that is property acquired before the marriage by one spouse – or marital property – that is property acquired during the marriage by both spouses. Under Illinois divorce laws, even if one spouse started the business and was the business owner, if the other spouse contributed to the business, or funds from the marriage, called “marital funds”, were used to fund the business, the court may determine that the business is marital property. If the court determines that a business is marital property, it is then subject to “equitable distribution.” In sum, the spouse that did not start or own the business may be entitled to a portion of the business, if it is determined to be marital property and not separate property.
A prenuptial agreement is a way to guard against the risk of a judge making a marital property determination and splitting the business with the soon-to-be-ex spouse. A prenuptial agreement is a contract between the two spouses-to-be that sets forth who-gets-what in the case that the marriage ends. If one spouse-to-be is a business owner who wishes for the business to maintain the status of separate property in the case of a divorce, they can add this as a term in the contract, if their fiancé agrees. If the couple does then decide to get a divorce, the prenuptial agreement, if valid, will prevail, and a judge will be required to follow it in the divorce proceedings.
Help with Your Prenuptial Agreement in Chicago
If you are in Chicago and you are interested in crafting a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced Chicago prenuptial agreement lawyer. The skilled and experienced Chicago prenuptial agreement lawyers at the law firm Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC are here to help, and offer a confidential consultation. Contact Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC today and speak to a Chicago prenuptial agreement about your options today.