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Friday, September 13, 2013

Divorcing But Still in Business Together: Our Brooklyn Divorce Lawyers Weigh In

So the joint business is thriving, but the marriage? Not so much.

Our Brooklyn uncontested divorce lawyers know that just because one element of your relationship has proven impossible to maintain doesn't mean you have to scrap all of it.

If you have a business with your soon-to-be-ex, it's important that each of you carefully weigh whether this is something that you can both handle. Realize that it's going to be a learning curve that will include developing new ways of relating to one another. But it's by no means impossible.

Think of it like this: Many people who divorce with children go on to continue providing stability and love in the form of cooperative, effective co-parenting that often requires day-to-day interaction. It can in some ways be the same with business.

However, just as you wouldn't leave custody arrangements and support payments to chance, neither do you want to enter into this new phase of your business relationship without careful legal review that will help you draw clear boundaries and contingencies.

An example of making it work was recently given by Bloomberg: The co-owners of a Boston bakery had grown their firm into a 30-employee, $2.5-million-a-yeear operation with four locations. Although it seems light years ago, the pair actually started as husband and wife, back in 1979. That union lasted just two years. The business, however, is now going on 35 years. It's a testament to what is possible. 

Scenarios like this are more common than you think. Some 65 percent of all U.S. businesses are family-owned, with about half of those owned by husband-and-wife teams. When you consider that somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of all first marriages end in divorce, according to the National Center for Health Statistics - we begin to see that this type of situation is quite common.

While many spouse-owned firms may be sold or fold in the wake of a split, those aren't the only options. In some cases, the couple may decide that one will buy out the other and continue to run the enterprise while the other moves on.

And then increasingly, we are seeing cases where couples are choosing to continue working together as business partners. They may decide that while they can't get along at home, they have a good business model, a profitable operation and employees that rely on them. They may also not have the resources to buy one another out or they recognize they don't want to split the property.

These kinds of arrangements tend to require that couples quickly get on the same page. When a divorce is contested, it might easily fray the good will required to maintain the business. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be assertive in asking for what is rightfully yours, but having an attorney who can help you maintain the peace is going to be especially important in these cases. Having a joint financial stake in a thriving company can be a powerful incentive to keep working toward an amicable resolution. We are committed to helping you reach it.

If you are contemplating an uncontested divorce in Brooklyn call our offices at (718) 864-2011.

Additional Resources:

Divorced, but Still in Business Together, Feb. 26, 2013, By Karen E. Klein, Bloomberg Businessweek

More Blog Entries:

How Do I Get an Uncontested Divorce in Brooklyn? Oct. 31, 2011, Brooklyn Uncontested Divorce Lawyer Blog


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