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Ending your marriage with a business partner? What to know

Spouses often share the dream of opening a business together. The opportunity to be your own boss, share your work life with your spouse, and make your own rules is certainly attractive for many people. While this may be an excellent arrangement when you are happily married, it can create considerable complications in the event of a divorce.

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If you are currently tied to a business with your spouse and will be going through a divorce, it is important to understand the effects a divorce can have on your business. Saving the business will likely be a top concern when it comes to dividing assets and prioritizing interests during the divorce. As noted in this Wall Street Journal article there are some ways to make this part of a divorce a little easier.

  • Plan ahead: When you are starting a business, it can be easy to think in terms of "us." However, taking some time to make contingency plans in the event of a split later on can help you avoid many difficult decisions down the road.
  • Reprioritize company goals and responsibilities: You and your ex may decide to stay in the business together. However, working together in the same capacity may no longer be a good idea. Shifting responsibilities so that you don't have to be in direct conflict and contact can ease the tension without jeopardizing the business.
  • Clearly define boundaries and roles: Knowing specifically what you are responsible for and what your ex is responsible for can allow you both to set expectations and take accountability.
  • Keep emotions in check: There is a saying that goes, "It's not personal; it's business." If you can make decisions as a business person and not a distraught, bitter ex, it can be easier to keep some perspective and protect your business.
  • Assess the alternatives: Do you want to buy out your ex and stay in control of the company? Would you accept a buyout and leave the business? Considering these options will be crucial.

Running a business with someone can be lot like being married. When things are going well, the relationship can be good; when things go sour, self-preservation can become the top priority. With the help of an attorney, you can work through issues including business valuation and property division to protect your company, your career and your financial future.

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