Running a Successful Business With Your Ex | Things You Should Know

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There are several common scenarios of how a divorce impacts a jointly owned business after separation a divorce:

● One spouse gets the business, and while the other receives sufficient financial compensation or marital property equivalent in value to the relevant share of the business.

● Each spouse gets a separate part of the company. This way solution is suitable for those spouses who can carry out the division of the business by rearranging business operations to facilitate a professional relationship.

● Another possibility is going out of business, entailingand the liquidation of the assets to limit the loses (by selling merchandise and equipment, putting up some assets for auction and so on.)

● Sale Divestment of the business. The profit is divided between the parties.

● Former spouses remain joint owners and business partners despite a divorce.

Divorce can destroy a joint venture, or it may not affect it at all.

Nothing prevents the former spouses from remaining partners in a business they have founded together.

In this case, the spouses are, first of all, business partners. The divergence of views on some issues can occur, and it should be considered as a natural thing. In general, whether a divorce will affect a business depends only on the parties’ interest in its developmenting, as well as on their ability to negotiate.

According to the statistics, almost half of all small businesses in the US are family-owned ones, and the owners of most of these family businesses are married couples. As in Pennsylvania reports, baseding on their recent survey –  though continuing to work jointly after a divorce is legally the simplest way, only about 25% of divorced spouses remain in business together after a divorce is granted.

Apparently, the reason is rather psychological than legal or formal. No one wants to destroy their own business, in which so much labor, money, and time were invested. The well-known phrase “Nothing personal, it’s just business” is rarely relevant for small family businesses, and the owners often consider such ventures as their brainchild. It is not only about money, management, and profit, but also about inspiration, personal growth, and even some sacrifices. What The emotional stress should bethat is associated with a divorce applies a huge amount of pressure which persuades so that people are willing to sell their good business! More often than not, people are afraid of the consequences of frequent contacts encounters with their former spouse. During a divorce, almost everyone feels emotionally unstable, being guided by the only desire – to protect themselves from stress, to escape, to recover. But if the divorce process itself was quite amicable and peaceful, then very soon you may regret having gonet out of business.

Remember that you are not obliged to give up what you hold dear. And although running a business with the former spouse is not for everyone, you may find yourself among those who can do it.

So, what are these factors which that help the divorced couples who continue to manage (and even successfully develop) their business together regardless of the marriage dissolution?

1. Seek the help of outside experts and specialists

This option may help to circumvent the disputes which may occur between two owners. Just as divorcing spouses can resort to divorce mediation or by hiring a joint custody attorney to reach an agreement concerning child custody, for instance, they can resort to the special transition committee in business matters. Typically, such a committee includes two trustees proposed by each spouse and one business coach. Besides, the coach helps to determine the updated roles of divorced parties in a particular partnership, maybe to build a new business strategy, and in general, to clarify whether this couple is capable of continuing to run the joint business.

2. Analyze the ground for divorce

Experts claim that the cause of a breakup can predict whether a joint business after a divorce will be successful after a divorce.

The thing is that trust is an essential part of a partnership. So, on a human level, you should trust your ex-spouse to run a business together.

If the marriage has broken because of cheating, infidelity, or lies, then there are few chances that this flashback would not affect your business professional relationship. On the contrary, if the spouses’ intention to divorce was mutual, and they consider incompatibility or just falling out of love as an actual cause of their separation, they are likely to succeed in business. They can use the fact they know each other very well, and thereforey are predictable for eachto one another, to their advantage – even if in their personal life it seemed to be a problem (lack of drama, “chemistry” and romantic sparks between them, etc.).

3. You should both understand why your partner needs you

Both of you should be equally important team members. If one of the partners plays the role of “ballast,”, quarrels cannot be avoided. If during the marriage, everything was joint, and the spouse who invested less in the business could contribute to other areas of the family’s life, now the invested efforts should be as equal as possible.

Do the sums and forecasts on your own or hire the a financial counselor, so that you can see whether you really need to work together in terms of profit. It typically occurs that running the business together turns out to be just much more profitable.

For many, joint business after a divorce is a consequence of the financial need. However, when you realize that your ex-spouse is still essential for your financial condition, it is easier to maintain respectful communication. And you know, in the end, a smooth split and friendly relationship between the ex-spouses is always a distinct benefit for each of them.

4. It’s better if you have started a business before the wedding

According to the statistics, those couples who got married when the joint business company was already in business has already been working are three times more likely to continue to develop their venture even after a divorce.

When the business was initially owned by one of the spouses, it may be difficult to ignore this fact after a divorce. Someone always seems to be thea “true,”, original boss, and a partnership that was previously based on personal sympathy can fail. Equal cooperation, oin the oppositeother hand, ensures more strict boundaries, clear division of responsibilities, and job descriptions.

But probably the most important condition is that you must think of your former spouse like any other co-worker – not to be interested in their personal life and not to recall the past.

Running a successful business with your ex is a possible but complicated task. You should be firm, impartial, and self-sufficient to accept this challenge.

Fortunately, each divorced person should develop all these qualities anyway, to cope with pain and become wiser, smarter, and happier in the future. So why not make a financial profit?


Alex is a small business blogger with a focus on entrepreneurship and growth. With over 5 years of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Alex has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, approachable and entrepreneurial-minded blogger. He has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners, and is able to provide actionable advice and strategies for success. Alex has interviewed successful entrepreneurs, and covered major small business events such as the Small Business Expo and the Inc. 500|5000 conference. He is also a successful entrepreneur himself, having started and grown several small businesses in different industries.