Running a Business with a Former Spouse

Studies show that almost 4 million businesses are owned by married couples. But what if a couple decides to divorce and neither party wants to leave the business? Although it may seem unlikely, it is possible to run a business with a former spouse. An article in the New York Times offers tips and suggestions on running your business with an ex.

Respect is everything. Stephanie Blackwell was married to her husband for 12 years, and they had a business that they had started together. When they divorced, Stephanie, a mother of four children, wanted out of the business but she could not afford to leave her job. Even if she did not always get along with her ex-husband she still respected him. She decided to continue running the company with her ex.

Get help. Most former spouses do not normally have to see each other on a regular basis. But a divorced couple who own a business together must continue to do so. Terri Allen could hardly communicate with her former spouse which made it difficult to run their accounting firm together. The couple hired a therapist to help them with their problems. “It helped us learn how to talk to each other in a calm and rational way,” Ms. Allen said.

Create an agreement. Couples who own a business together often make the mistake of not signing a shareholders’ agreement, which details how the business’s assets are split if either one decides to leave. “We didn’t have a proper partnership agreement,” Terri Allen said. “We were married, and we wanted to work together.”

Property division can become very complicated, especially if you or your spouse owns a business. Hiring a knowledgeable marital property division lawyer can make your divorce process go more smoothly. Contact a skilled divorce attorney in Chicago as soon as possible.