When Illinois couples go into business together, it is recommended that they should discuss buyout clauses in the event that they get divorced. While this can be an uncomfortable discussion as it can insinuate that one or both individuals are anticipating a divorce down the line, it can also help ensure that the business will survive even if the marriage does not.
TransPerfect, a company in Delaware, is a prime example of what can happen if couples do not take the steps to protect the company in the event of a split. While the founders were not married, they also did not draw up any sort of buyout agreement that dealt with how what would happen should the relationship end. When it did eventually sour, the founders became unable to make basic business decisions together. When they became deadlocked, they took the case to court. In Delaware, the judge can order the sale of a company.
Another similar case occurred in Louisiana, though the couple did end up getting married. In this case, the founder lost the business to her ex-husband when the property was divided up. She ended up having to buy the business back once the divorce was complete.
When a couple gets a divorce after starting a business together, it can become difficult to determine who will get the business especially if the former couple can no longer work together. If the former couple did not draft up a buyout agreement, a judge may consider the business to be marital property which can then be given to one person or sold. A family law attorney may argue that a person should be given the business when the property is divided up especially if they were responsible for fostering the growth of the company.