It’s a long, hard road to build a family company from the ground up. Your different skill sets might have complemented each other perfectly as the business flourished. But those same differences contributed to the breakdown of your marriage.
Buying out a spouse in the divorce process is common in many divorces. A buy-out might not be the right solution, if you both want to remain active in running the business.
These three tips can ease the transition during the divorce process. They require some difficult conversation, but are the only way to move forward as business partners.
Clearly define roles within the company
Discuss the role you will each fill and write down the details. Were you the numbers person? Did you bring in the sales, making calls and handling the marketing? Your different values and skills contribute to the business and one or the other of you probably cannot easily fill both roles.
By defining your roles moving forward, you can often reduce points of conflicts. The transition is also easier when you know who will do what.
Formalize your agreement
This is crucial. A family law attorney can assist you to draft and negotiate an agreement that protects your interests if the arrangement does not work.
When you started up the business, you probably did not put a partnership in writing. You now need a formal structure with a buy-sell provision in case one partner decides to leave.
During the divorce process, you may need to compartmentalize. It can be hard not to keep emotions out of the office. Working with a therapist can be a solution.
Some couples may even find that they are better business partners once a divorce is final.
Source: Fast Company, “Is It Possible To Get Divorce And Remain Business Partners?,” Gwen Moran, Feb. 9, 2016