It depends on how the deal was negotiated. We frequently will include provisions in the payout provision to take those kinds of circumstances into account. Small fluctuations generally are not the subject of modifications, but a large fluctuation – for example, a new competition comes to town in this family business and suddenly revenues go down by 50% – can be. If you’ve based the payout to the other spouse at the former sales level, certainly it’s not going to be realistic that those same levels of payments can be maintained after a 50% decline in sales. We try to build in some kind of protection for both sides. The small fluctuations are not taken into account, but a significant deviation does need to result in some kind of an adjustment. It might mean that the payments are reduced and continue for a longer period of time, so the same amount of dollars ultimately changes hands but the payment structure is modified.
Chuck Roberts is family lawyer at Momkus McCluskey Roberts, LLC, one of the largest law firms in DuPage County, Illinois.
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