When spouses work together and own a business together, they see each other much more often than the typical couple. They have built that business through dedication and many sacrifices, while facing plenty of ups and downs.
But, in some cases, those downs become too overwhelming, leading to dissent within the business partnership and, of course, the marital partnership. A divorce does not have to mean the break-up of the family business. However, it often does. If, you as a business owner are going through a divorce, you do have certain options.
Sell it or continue to work together
Together, you built the company, gained a solid market following and established the business in the community. However, the erosion of your marriage may leave an indelible imprint on the company. Here are some likely scenarios as to what you should consider doing:
- The sale of the business: As long as you can come to an agreement with your estranged spouse, this scenario likely is the most realistic option. Granted, you are going to have many misgivings because this was a company that you created, nurtured and built. Selling your company should provide a significant amount of money that you could use to fund your next business venture.
- Buying your spouse’s share of the company: If you can work out an agreement that includes a fair price, consider buying out your spouse. In your divorce, you must negotiate, and, in this scenario, you must do the same. Understand that this will not be easy. This experience may even take you back to the days when you started the business: seeking investors, taking out business loans or finding a new partner.
- Continue working with your spouse: While your marriage partnership may not have worked, you recognize that your business partnership has succeeded. Before you consider this route, understand that difficulties may surface continuing to work with your now ex-spouse. As long as you can “compartmentalize” the emotions and feelings, while focusing on the business tasks as hand, the two of you can continue to grow this company.
Carefully consider your options. As a business owner, you understand the rules of negotiation. Those rules also apply to divorce.
Potential fringe benefits
None of these options will be easy to accomplish. Expect some challenges, but also some potential fringe benefits that come with new beginnings. You have to be realistic in knowing that you must say goodbye to your marriage and maybe even your business. But things sometimes work out in ways that you do not expect.