Archive for the ‘Business Valuation’ Category

Can a Business’ Retained Earnings Be Considered Marital Property?

April 23rd, 2015 at 2:54 pm

retained earnings, division of property, Chicago divorce attorneysIn short, yes. When a couple builds a business together during their marriage, both partners have the right to seek a portion of the business’ value during their divorce.

Retained earnings are the profits that a company makes which are not distributed back to its shareholders. They are the profits that are held onto in a reserve and used for specific goals, such as paying off company debts, or reinvested into the business.

Shares in a company can become a contentious topic among divorcing couples because of the prospect of retained earnings. Retained earnings contribute to a company’s overall value. Shareholders have an interest in these earnings and a say in how they are used. If the court determines that an individual’s shares in a company are marital property, their value must be divided among the spouses. If one’s shares are nonmarital property, the court must determine the spouses’ contribution to the company to determine a fair distribution of their value.

Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that property is not necessarily divided exactly 50/50 between divorcing parties. Instead, the division of a couple’s property is done according to a variety of factors, including each partner’s needs and personal resources.

Marital Property vs. Non-Marital Property

Generally, all property acquired during a couple’s marriage is presumed to be marital property. This includes the couple’s home, any joint bank accounts, and any businesses that the couple starts together. A business that one partner started before the marriage, but considerably expanded during the marriage with marital money, credit, or labor, may be also considered to be marital property.

When determining whether a company’s retained earnings may be considered to be marital property during a divorce, the following questions must be asked:

  • Are the retained earnings calculated as part of the company’s total value?
  • Are the retained earnings being used for corporate business?
  • How much control does the spouse involved in the business have to pay out the retained earnings as dividends to him or herself?

Whether other individuals are part owners or shareholders in the company and what the couple chooses to do with the business upon their divorce can also determine whether its retained earnings may be divided among the spouses. Some couples choose to sell their businesses and split the profit while others opt to continue them, either jointly or with one spouse buying out the other’s share of the company.

Divorce Attorneys in the Chicago Area

Anderson & Associates, P.C. is proud to serve clients throughout the Chicago area in our five accessible office locations: downtown Chicago, Orland Park, Northbrook, Schaumburg, and Wheaton. To discuss your unique circumstances, call 312-345-9999 to speak with one of the experienced Chicago divorce attorneys at our firm.

Business Valuation in a Divorce

March 11th, 2015 at 4:00 pm

property division, assets, Illinois Divorce AttorneyMany Illinois couples choose to work together to open and operate businesses. In other marriages, one partner operates his or her own business with little to no input from his or her spouse. When a business is a part of a couple’s household income, it must be accounted for during their divorce.

The amount of personal investment each partner has in a business can determine how it is divided during the couple’s divorce. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that divorcing couples’ assets are divided after considering several factors, including each partner’s needs and contribution to the marriage, rather than simply splitting their entire asset network in half.

Valuing a Business during a Divorce

A business, like other marital assets, must be assigned a monetary value to be divided as part of a couple’s divorce judgment. There are a few different methods used to determine a business’ monetary value. The method that is best for an individual business depends on the type of business and the couple’s plans for the business after their divorce.

The market approach values a business by comparing it to similar businesses to determine its viability and future prospects. Issues like the business’ relationship with its clients and its role in the community are considered when making this determination. This option is usually the best choice for couples who choose to sell their businesses.

The income approach looks at a business’ current and projected earnings to determine its value. Potential for growth, as well as any depreciation that can occur, are factored into the income approach. Results from this type of analysis are likely to factored into child support of spousal maintenance considerations.

The asset approach values a business by subtracting its depreciation from the total of its assets. This is a straightforward approach that can sometimes be too narrow for larger or more complicated businesses. If one owned the business prior to the marriage and liquidation was likely, this approach could be used to calculate the amount of marital property, if any, was invested during the marriage.

The correct valuation approach for many businesses may actually be a combination of all three, allowing for a larger number of factors. Financial experts commonly incorporate a number of methods when establishing the value of business, particularly in more complex situations.

Options for Divorcing Business Owners

There are some situations in which neither partner wants to leave the business. A couple with a fairly amicable relationship may choose to continue operating the business together after their divorce. In such cases, each partner’s interest in the company must be evaluated and written into a new contract reflecting their stakes as individual assets rather than a marital asset. Other options include selling the business or one partner choosing to continue to operate the business alone after the divorce.

All entrepreneurs are encouraged to draft prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that include their plans for their businesses in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can make it much easier to protect one’s interests during the divorce process, especially if these interests were obtained before the marriage and remained largely within the individual’s sole control during the marriage.

Chicago Divorce Attorneys

If you are a business owner currently going through a divorce, call 312-345-9999 to schedule your free legal consultation with Anderson & Associates, P.C. at one of our five convenient locations in the Chicago area. With offices in Wheaton, Orland Park, Northbrook, Schaumburg, and downtown Chicago, we work with our clients to determine the best course of action for their divorces. Do not wait to start working with an experienced Chicago divorce attorney – give us a call today to learn more about your options and obligations as a business owner.