When going through a divorce in Illinois, the state laws mandate that couples must divide their marital property fairly or equitably. This includes everything, even your medical practice, whether you acquired it while you were together or if your spouse helped contribute to its growth or your success in any way. But there are ways to ensure that the dissolution of your marriage doesn’t take your practice with it.
Marital property laws
In Illinois, marital property is any assets or debts acquired during the marriage. This includes but is not limited to real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts and even businesses.
So, if you started your medical practice during the marriage or received any financial support from your spouse for it, it automatically becomes a marital property (or at least part of it). The same applies if your spouse took care of the home affairs to ensure you focus entirely on your practice.
How to protect your medical practice
If you drafted a marital agreement (also known as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement) before or during the marriage, it could serve to protect your medical practice. A marital agreement is a legal document that specifies how spouses would divide their assets and debts in case of divorce. For instance, it can outline specific terms that allow you to keep the practice while your spouse takes other properties of equal value.
If you didn’t draft a marital agreement, consider out-of-court settlement like mediation or collaborative law to negotiate the terms of your divorce. Your spouse may agree to become a silent partner, leaving the medical practice solely under your control. If this is not possible, you may be able to negotiate a payout for your spouse’s share of the practice in exchange for other assets.
Navigating through a divorce can be a challenging journey, especially when your hard-earned medical practice is at stake. It’s important to remember that Illinois laws provide a fair and equitable outcome – not to penalize or disadvantage one party. If you and your partner can agree to a resolution that is beneficial to you both, they may allow you to keep your medical practice intact.