The Tough Road: Running a Business with an Ex-spouse

Running a business right after your divorce can be a nightmare, especially when the person you have to work with used to be your significant other. Many entrepreneurs experience this particular predicament, especially in the US. Sometimes, this is a choice you have to make, and if you want to make your business work out with them, you’ll have to work with them the best way possible.

Many might say that it’s impossible to do. Your friends might share similar experiences regarding your position. But remember, your experience will always be unique from them. If your ex-spouse still wants to run this business with you, then you should consider the idea that they are willing to push personal matters aside for the company.

There are many ways you can run your business with your ex-partner. But first, we must get to the legal side of things. Here are some business laws you should consider when it comes to owning your shared business.

Who Owns the Business?

First of all, you should consider who owns the business. There are many forms of business agreements that exist out there, but we will share the most fundamental ones with you. Your business may be considered to be a partnership between the two of you, but it might not necessarily be the case in the paper. If the agreement only states one business owner, it’s most likely to be a sole proprietorship.

In this situation, it’s either you are the business owner or just an employee. If you’re an employee, you can’t make executive decisions. You won’t be on equal grounds with your ex-spouse legally. So that might be problematic. However, if both your names are designated to be owners in the paper, then what you have is a partnership. Both of you can make executive decisions together in a partnership, so this means that you are also on equal grounds legally.

First, you should consider who owns the business legally before you jump into this agreement with your ex-spouse. If you see that you are not equals and that’s a problem for you, then consider not going through with this agreement or maybe re-negotiating it.

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Settle Personal Matters First

After all, is said and done, you’re still going to need to consult your lawyers regarding your position. Some law firms specialize in this kind of situation, like Serve Index LLC. These law firms are willing to hear you out and might even advise on whether you should still push through with it or not. Remember that they are experts when it comes to these situations.

If they highly discourage you from running your business with your ex-spouse, then you shouldn’t do it. Your best bet is to liquidate the business. Depending on the business agreement we have explained earlier, your ex-spouse can get some business assets the same way you do. However, if experts suggest that it’s possible to run your business with your ex-spouse, then, by all means, give it a go. But prepare yourself first before getting back into the office.

Set Expectations

It’s time to set expectations with your ex-spouse. Remember that you’re no longer married and that you are mere workmates at this point, so you’ll have to discuss with them what are your plans for the business moving forward. This is to reduce the chance that you’ll be both in conflict once again. If you don’t agree regarding where the business will go in the future, it’s time to negotiate and compromise. If your ex-spouse is not willing to do this, then you should consider leaving the business.

Prioritize the Business First

When personal matters get in the way, remember to always prioritize your business first. It might be hard during the first few months to run the business with your ex-spouse. You might still treat them as someone close to you at some point, but that’s no longer the case. It’s time for you to set boundaries and keep in mind what is good for the business and not what is good for both of you. You’ll have to keep in mind that you are workmates at this point and no longer couples.

Here are some ways you can run a business with your ex-spouse. By setting expectations, having boundaries, and making sure that your personal matters have been settled, it’s possible that you can run a successful business together. But know that it will be challenging at first as you get used to your current agreement. It’ll get much easier as time goes on.

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