Starting a family business feels different than finding a business partner. You brainstorm over dinner. You put in work together on the weekends. You didn’t draft a partnership agreement of any kind. The business just feels like an extension of your marriage and your life together.
But what happens if that marriage ends? Is that the end of the business, as well?
For many couples, it is. They are then forced to sell the company to a third party and split up the business, or they dissolve it and sell off their assets.
For others, it’s the end for one half of the couple and not the other. For instance, a husband wants to sell the company and his wife wants to keep it. She lets him keep the entire retirement savings in exchange for his 50% ownership in the business, and she runs it by herself. The business just becomes an asset to split, along with everything else they own.
However, there are couples who decide they can still be business partners, even if they’re not married. They draft a partnership agreement and settle on terms. They decide to jointly run the company, as they have since it opened, even when their divorce is final.
What will work for you? It all depends on how civil your relationship is and whether you think you can work together. For most divorced couples, that winds up being too difficult. Either option can be the right one for you. Just make sure you understand what options you have as you consider everything.