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Can you and your ex run the business together?

Often, a “business divorce” just refers to two business partners who have decided to go their separate ways. It’s not a technical divorce in that sense, but it’s a breakdown of the partnership all the same.

However, many businesses are family businesses. This means that the owners may actually be a married couple. If you and your spouse decide to get a divorce but you own a business together, can you keep running it after the divorce?

You can do it, if you can make it work

You certainly can keep the business together. This is one option that you have, along with selling the company to a third party or allowing one person to exit while the other one buys their percentage of the business. You don’t have to sell, and you can keep working together as business partners, even long after your marriage has ended.

If you do this, it’s very important to create a partnership agreement. You need to make sure that both of you understand what roles you have, what your obligations are, what type of compensation you’ll receive and what percentage of the business you own. Even if you didn’t create a partnership agreement when you were married, based on the fact that you were a couple, you need to get one in place now.

You also have to determine if you’re even going to be able to make this work. Can the two of you work together? Can you put aside your differences? Can you keep the emotions of a stressful divorce and the end of a marriage out of the workplace?

If you feel that you can, it may be easy to move forward as partners and continue to see sustained success at the company. If you feel that you can’t, then you may have to explore some of your other options. It’s important to be very honest with yourself and to have these discussions with your spouse and any other business partners who may be involved.

Getting everything in place

If you are going to try this, it’s important to take the proper legal steps to set everything up. Make sure you know what it will take to get everything in place so that your new roles are clearly defined.