When Business Partnerships End – How to Survive a Business Divorce

Wheaton small business attorneysBusiness partnerships can end for all sorts of reasons. One of the partners may have a shift in their personal needs or goals (i.e. having a family, wanting to change industries, etc.). Other partnerships end over a matter of contention (unprofessional behavior, poorly job performance, etc.). Yet, regardless of the reasons, ending a partnership can be a complex process, and there are numerous pitfalls that can cost one or both parties a great deal of money. Learn how to mitigate against such issues, and discover how a seasoned business law attorney can help you survive the end of your business partnership. 

Protecting Your Business Before the End of a Partnership

While partners do not typically enter a business together, thinking it will one day end, it is highly encouraged that they anticipate and effectively plan for its eventual end. Not only does this make ending the partnership easier, should the need arise, it can also protect the interests of the partners and ensure the continuity of the business. Additionally, partners are encouraged to revisit their original agreement when needs change or the company grows, as this can ensure the exit strategy always reflects the business’s most current goals, profits, and vested parties. 

Business Valuations and the End of a Partnership

While an exit strategy will typically address most matters involved with ending a business partnership, there are elements to the process that must still be completed. One such item is an accurate valuation of the business, which accounts for all the company’s debts, assets, and projected future profits. Partners are encouraged to seek their valuation from an appraiser that they can both agree upon, instead of just one partner simply choosing an appraiser, as this can minimize the risk of a slated valuation that benefits only one of the vested parties (i.e. inflating the company’s debts to keep more of the money within the business). 

Deciding How to End Your Business Partnership

There are numerous methods that partners can use to end their relationship, but most require that the business either buy out the exiting party completely or make scheduled payments at pre-determined times. Businesses that need to preserve money for growth or are still new may benefit most from scheduled payment increments. Those that have the ability to make a complete buyout may benefit more from simply dissolving the partner completely. In either case, it is critical that parties discuss their options and the potential ramifications with a seasoned legal professional, as there are pros and cons to each method. 

Contact Our Wheaton Business Law Attorneys

Whether you need assistance with developing an exit strategy at the start of your business or need help with dissolving a business partner, Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC is the firm to call. Backed by more than four decades of experience, our DuPage County small business lawyers work hard to protect the interests and financial futures of our clients. Start by scheduling a personalized, no-obligation consultation. Call 630-665-2500 today. 




Small Business Concerns: What You Should Know About the New Anti-Discrimination Bill

DuPage County small business attorneysAlthough small businesses have started to become more optimistic about their future, the state of Illinois can make it difficult for them to keep their doors open. A lot of the issues can be attributed to the growing list of regulations to which small businesses must comply. Now the state wants to add yet another regulation that could open small business owners up to frivolous and expensive lawsuits over purported discrimination. Learn more about this bill and what it could mean for your small business, and discover how our seasoned small business attorneys may be able to help you mitigate the issues that could arise if the bill is passed. 

Lawmaker Pushing for Anti-Discrimination Bill 

State Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, is pushing for an anti-discrimination bill that would allow the employees of small businesses to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination based on gender, status, religion, or other identifying factors protected by law. If passed, the law would impact all businesses with 15 or more employees. Small businesses have been exempt from such lawsuits up to this point. A single lawsuit could cost the company tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars if the employee wins, and even if the employee loses, the legal fees could still be enough to drive a small business into bankruptcy. 

Those who oppose the bill argue that most small businesses treat their employees more like family than workers – and they are correct. Most small businesses are working hard to increase their pool of quality employees – not fire them. When they do find the employees they are looking for, they tend to become part of a close-knit “family,” and are typically only let go for serious infractions. Firing them based on matters like gender or religion would be counterproductive to their goals and values. 

Protecting Your Small Business from Discrimination Lawsuits 

Whether your small business is just big enough to be covered under the current anti-discrimination laws, or you are at risk of facing them if the bill passes, it is critical that you have a solid and sound process for terminating employees. One should also have a clear and concise employee handbook that outlines what you expect out of your employees. Of course, drafting such a document typically requires a great deal of time and at least some knowledge of the law. Most small business owners lack in at least one of these areas (typically the time).

Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC understands the struggles that small businesses face because we are one. Backed by more than 40 years of legal experience, we can handle the legal aspects of protecting your business so that you can focus on what matters most. Call 630-665-2500 and schedule a consultation with our DuPage County small business lawyers to get started today. 



How the New AHP Could Increase the Risk of Lawsuits Against Your Small Business

DuPage County small business law attorneysSmall businesses have long struggled to provide the same quality healthcare benefits to their employees as larger corporations. As a result, their hiring pool is often smaller, and they sometimes lose good workers, solely because they lack the ability to provide certain benefits. Thanks to the new AHP, that could all change. Franchisors and small businesses need to tread lightly, however, as there are some aspects of the law that could increase their risk of a lawsuit. Learn more in the following sections, including how a seasoned small business lawyer could help to mitigate this risk for your company. 

A Closer Look at the New AHP

At their core, AHPs allow small businesses to band together to purchase healthcare coverage for their employees, but unlike the older version, this new AHP allows companies to band together based on more than just industry or field. Instead, they can be linked by geography, or simply the desire to offer healthcare coverage. Set to start in September, the new AHP will apply to all small businesses, and even self-employed individuals, which were originally excluded. 

Employers who enroll in the program are expected to have the same flexibility as large corporations when choosing a coverage plan, but they may find that there are more exclusions. For example, a provider can choose not to cover prescriptions or drug rehabilitation services. Laws regrind maternity care, pre-existing conditions, and preventative care still apply. 

Avoiding Lawsuits Under the New AHP

In a large corporation, the human resources (HR) department typically works to ensure that all provided benefits are complaint with the law. In a small business or franchise, the task typically falls on the shoulders of the owner, who may already be spread too thin. As a result, they may fail to meet the legal requirements, such as ensuring that:

  • They are providing maternity coverage if they have 15 or more employees;
  • The cost to workers does not exceed more than 9.56 percent of their income (companies with 50 or more employees); and
  • The plan covers at least 60 percent of the cost of covered benefits (companies with 50 or more employees).

If an employer fails to meet these requirements and their employee has to seek other coverage because of that oversight, the small business could be subject to fines, penalties, and lawsuits. 

Franchisors have an even bigger challenge; overcoming joint liability when their franchisees fail to meet the requirements. Extra precautions, like hiring a program administrator and setting up an AHP trust, are highly encouraged for these companies. 

Contact Our Wheaton Small Business Lawyers

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC, we recognize just how devastating a lawsuit can be to your company’s future, and we strive to protect it. Skilled and experienced, our Wheaton small business lawyers can assist you in taking the appropriate steps before enrolling in an AHP. Call 630-665-2500 and schedule a personalized consultation to get started today.