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Can we continue as business partners post-divorce?

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2019 | Divorce

Owning a family business with a spouse can make getting a divorce much more challenging. Individuals must manage many details in addition to their divorce just to protect their business assets and ventures.

This is a reality for many Virginians. Many spouses pursue joint business ventures during their marriage and become business partners. Married business partners might wonder: is it possible to continue as business partners after divorce?

Like most matters in divorce, the answer to this question often depends entirely on the ex-spouses’ circumstances. In some cases, the best option for both spouses might be to divide the business assets or buy-out the other spouse’s portion of the business instead.

On the other hand, if spouses agree to pursue a divorce and remain on relatively civil terms afterward, it might be possible for them to continue as business partners after the divorce is final. In fact, some spouses might get along better as business partners than they did as life partners.

Here are a few tips that ex-spouses should consider if they choose to stay in business after their divorce is final:

1. Keep all personal matters out of the working relationship

For the business partnership to work, spouses must agree to keep all emotions and personal matters separate from the business. This is essential.

The personal situation of divorce can be complicated, but allowing it to impact how spouses run their business can be detrimental. Divorced parents must put their children first, despite their differences. Divorced business partners must often do the same with their business.

2. Find a way to re-establish trust

Even an amicable divorce can damage the trust that spouses have in each other – but trust is critical in a business partnership. To help their business succeed after divorce, ex-spouses should:

  • Restructure or create a new partnership agreement
  • Establish boundaries in the workplace
  • Communicate their shared goals for the business

Trust and respect are necessary to build a successful partnership. Former spouses should make establishing those factors a priority of their business relationship.

3. Create effective strategies for conflict resolution

This tip applies to business matters as well as personal matters. Most divorced parents in Virginia create a strategy to resolve conflicts in their custody agreement and parenting plan. Divorced business partners should consider doing the same.

For example, many ex-spouses who remain business partners report that they have consulted outside parties to help them resolve disputes. This is critical to help preserve the partnership and protect the business from any potential conflicts.

Protecting business assets during and after a divorce can be a complicated matter. The attorneys at Bowen Ten Long & Bal, PC, have extensive experience guiding business owners through complex and high-asset divorces effectively and efficiently. We can help you do the same.