Roughly 3.7 million businesses in the U.S. are owned by married couples. With the divorce rate remaining steady at 50 percent, one could assume that half of these businesses may face the challenges of deciding what to do with the business after getting divorced.
While some divorced couples may not be able to continue working together, reports have shown that many businesses continue to be operated by divorced couples. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t significant challenges that need to be addressed before a divorced couple should continue working together.
There are several ways divorced couples can continue working together. However, it is important for both ex-spouses to understand the challenges and what will need to be addresses to create a successful working environment.
First, couples need to have respect for each other. Many divorced couples who still run a business together say that respect is key. They highlighted the importance of having clear communication with each other as well as being consistent in their roles and job duties.
Divorced couples running a business together may benefit from seeking professional advice about how to get along and work together. Many divorced couples say that even though their personal relationship has ended, discussing their professional life with a therapist or advisor can be very helpful to create a successful business plan.
Another way divorced couples can continue running their business together is by creating a business agreement that establishes what will happen if one owner wants to sell the business or leave the company. A business agreement can also create guidelines for each business partner and establish what roles each person will have within the company.
Lastly, it is important for divorced couples to talk to their employees about the future of the company if they decide to continue working together. When employees understand what the professional relationship is going to be like, they will feel more comfortable about working for the business. It is also important for both business owners to allow employees to get used to the change and be available to answer questions or address concerns.
Divorce can be a tricky, messy process but couples who have a business together can successfully create a professional relationship after divorce by following these tips.
Source: The New York Times, “When Couples Divorce but Still Run a Business Together,” Bryan Borzykowski, Dec. 5, 2012
Our law firm represents couples considering divorce. To learn more about our law firm, please visit our Maryland divorce page.