Numerous business owners start up businesses with their spouses. Unfortunately, divorce can cause issues in the professional world in these situations. It can happen. You’re married and running a business with your spouse, and then everything falls apart — at least when it comes to your marriage. Does this also have to be the end of your business relationship? It depends.
If you cannot trust one another, then running a business with your ex-spouse more than likely won’t work out. You may need to look for ways to protect your business through the divorce process rather than plan to run the business together after the divorce. Consider setting up new trust funds and determine whether you need to alter other business contracts post-divorce.
However, if the divorce is amicable, and both of you are willing to make an effort to keep the business separate from the issues that resulted in your divorce, it could work out. But, first, consider these 10 things before you commit.
Do You Trust One Another?
Trust must be at the root of any successful business partnership. So if you have trust issues with the person you’re divorcing, running a business together might not be the best idea. Keep that in mind before you agree to stay in business together.
According to Mark Rees, divorce lawyer in Jonesboro, “In many cases, while negotiating the terms of a divorce, one party may not be willing to work out a fair and equitable divorce agreement.” If you do have trust issues, but you want to make running the business together work, you might want to consider seeking out divorce counseling. Then, you might come to terms with your divorce agreement and your business agreement all at once. Divorce counseling can help you work through your trust issues and allow you to keep running the business together.
Do You Both Have Defined Roles Within The Business?
If you and your soon-to-be ex have well-defined roles within the business and you each bring your own strengths to the table, the situation is promising. Knowing what each of you contributes means that you both realize that it takes each of you to make the business a success. Plus, it’s one less area that you’ll have to worry about having conflict occur. One of you might take care of choosing the best leasing options while the other manages the marketing portion of your company. If both of you have defined roles, you might be able to continue conducting business with one another.
Are You Both Dependent On The Business’ Success?
If both you and your spouse are financially dependent on the business and neither of you wants to try and start over by yourself, that means you will likely put more effort in to make your business partnership work. Knowing that sticking it out together is better than trying to make it on your own can make it easier to put your personal feelings aside and work together to have financial success.
Can You Keep Your Emotions In Check?
Divorce can be a messy business, full of turbulent emotions, and it’s important that you and your almost-ex are in a good place emotionally if you plan to run a business together. For example, is the divorce the result of simply growing apart or was it something more serious? If the divorce was the result of something that could cause future friction to arise between you, you might want to rethink working together. You could set some ground rules about keeping business and your personal lives separate to help your interpersonal communication. If the issues are serious but you still want to make it work, you could seek counseling. Just as it is important to avoid making emotional decisions to start a business, it is crucial when conducting business with your ex-spouse.
Do You Have A Legal Agreement In Place?
It’s not uncommon for spouses to start a business together without a legal agreement in place. However, because divorce is now on the horizon, you both might want to reconsider that decision. At some point, one of you might want out of the business, and it would make it much easier if you already have an agreement in place that addresses what will happen at that point, such as a buyout. It’s important to keep in mind that you are now functioning as business partners, not as a married couple who owns a business together.
Are You Willing to Keep Your Social Lives Off Limits?
You know how people try to separate their business life from their personal life by making a rule about not bringing their work home? Well, when you’re running a business with someone who is going to be your ex, you need to practice the same thing — in reverse. Don’t bring your personal life to work unless you want to open the door to possible conflict.
Respect the social boundaries of your ex, just as you would a business partner. It’s important to remember that you are strictly business partners now, not people who share in each other’s personal affairs. As such, what you do on your own time and who you do it with is your own business.