Businesses & Divorce


Oak Brook

Burr Ridge

Lake Forest

Business and Divorce Attorneys in DuPage County

Naperville, IL Business and Divorce Lawyers

In many relationships, a jointly-owned business may be the family's primary, or solitary, income source. During a divorce, the two most significant issues are typically professional goodwill and business valuation. The earnings must be divided as part of the property settlement; goodwill must be properly categorized as marital or non-marital property; and a market value must be established.

At Pesce Law Group, P.C., we understand that these businesses have emotional value in addition to their financial value. We take the time to listen to you and learn more about your goals and aspirations in a particular situation. Afterwards, we take prompt and sustained action to protect your legal and financial rights, both inside and outside the courtroom.

Business Goodwill

A business' reputation in the community, and more importantly, among its customers, may be its largest asset. To properly add value to the business for divorce valuation purposes, that goodwill must be properly classified.

  • Enterprise Goodwill: Some businesses, especially franchise businesses, have goodwill that stems from the name itself. For example,most customers do not eat at a certain chain restaurant because of the owner's name. In these situations, the goodwill is considered part of the marital estate.
  • Personal Goodwill: Especially in service or professional enterprises, like a law firm or a hair salon, goodwill may stem from the owner's name. For example, if Husband no longer operates Husband's Barber Shop, existing customers may leave. In these instances, the business goodwill is non-marital property.

Personal goodwill can be considered future income earning ability, so it is often a factor in a maintenance award, if not the overall property division.

Business Valuation

Illinois courts generally use one of three basic models to determine business value:

  • Market Approach: Much like "comparables" in a real estate sale, this approach looks to the recent purchase or sale of similarly-situated businesses.
  • Asset Approach: As the name implies, this method looks only at the company's fixed assets. Since it ignores cash flow and intangible assets, this approach is not appropriate in many situations.
  • Income Approach: The is method is essentially the opposite of the asset approach, and the business' income over a set period of time is the determining factor in its value.

Other Issues

If the parties jointly own the business, as is often the case, the court will determine whether the now ex-spouses can continue to operate it, or whether the business should be sold. The law regarding business valuation is constantly evolving, so your attorney should be fully informed of the latest developments.

At Pesce Law Group, P.C., our professionals regularly attend seminars and other continuing education events. Contact us today at 630-352-2240 for a free consultation. We serve families in and around DuPage County.

Contact Us

NOTE: Fields with a * indicate a required field.


Orders of Protection FAQs
Orders of Protection FAQs
Home is the one place everyone should feel safe. Sadly, for those people who are victims of domestic violence, home is often the last place they want to be. Intimate partner violence affects one out of every three women and one in four men. Fortunately,...
Continue Reading...
How to Keep Divorce Costs Manageable
How to Keep Divorce Costs Manageable
A divorce is never easy. If your marriage is ending, you are likely to feel angry and hurt, as well as betrayed by the very person with whom you once wanted to spend the rest of your life. Emotions such as these may make you...
Continue Reading...
What Rights Do Unmarried Parents Have?
What Rights Do Unmarried Parents Have?
The allocation of parental responsibilities, commonly called child custody, can be a complicated part of family law. When a couple who is unmarried has a child, there are different rights and responsibilities applied to each parent than if the couple is married. For example, a...
Continue Reading...
AVVO COLLABORATIVE LAW INSTITUTE OF ILLINOIS SuperLawyers IACP DCBA Illinois State Bar Association Leading Lawyers Network