Protect yourself when divorcing your business partner

The uncertainty of your future after a divorce may be compounded if you are married to your business partner. Not only does such a divorce raise concerns about coping emotionally, deciding where to live and wondering about your financial resources, but it may cut to the heart of your life goals and livelihood.

Divorcing your business partner is a delicate matter, and it involves a complex tangle of your personal and professional life. There are actions you can take to preserve your business and minimize the stress for both you and your employees.

Your behavior affects the value of your business

As difficult as it may be to keep your personal life separate from your job, doing so at this time may be vital to maintaining the value of your California business. Even if your emotions tell you that the quickest way to bring hurt to your spouse is to harm the business, you will find that damaging the company will almost certainly make it more difficult for you to proceed beyond the divorce with stable finances. The following are some behaviors to avoid when divorcing your business partner:

  • Bringing arguments or personal discussions to the workplace, especially in front of employees or customers
  • Asking vendors, employees or clients to weigh in on your divorce issues
  • Using your co-workers as messengers between you and your spouse
  • Intentionally damaging your partner's reputation
  • Taking action against an employee after discovering that the employee and your spouse had an affair
  • Allowing the divorce to negatively affect your attendance or commitment to your business and its clients
  • Neglecting to maintain accurate and thorough records or to alert your accountant of your impending divorce

Your efforts during this time should be focused on making your business as successful and valuable as you can, including protecting the loyalty of your employees and clients. You can do this by being ever-professional and instilling a sense of respect and confidence in those who associate with you professionally.

Undoubtedly, you and your spouse are feeling a rollercoaster of emotions. As business owners, you know that making decisions under emotional duress is seldom wise. Nevertheless, you may be facing some critical choices, including deciding if you will continue to run the business together, if one of you will buy out the other or if you will sell the business and split the proceeds. No matter your choice, protecting the business and its value during this time is crucial, and gaining sound legal advice can benefit you.

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