In the 2007 Census, there was an estimate of around 3.7 million businesses operated by a husband and wife team. This is wonderful for keeping profits in the family and contributing to general agreement among decision making personnel, but what happens when filing for a divorce wasn’t in the business plan? Arizona couples that own a business together may never consider the implications of how a divorce may affect the flow of business.
Stories come from all over about once married business owners that have both successfully tried, and also failed at trying to amicably keep a business going following a divorce. Mediators and counselors agree that respect is the key concern if the business is to succeed under the same but separate management. Some relationship therapists have suggested sessions where ex-spouses learn to communicate better under the new circumstances.
Those couples that have separated while owning a business can admit that it may be more difficult at times. However, when the success of the business is the primary concern, other complications can fade away. It may be wise to keep appearances social and equally harmonious when confronting employees that may be concerned for the business. This can ease the concerns of others and reduce the possibility of your divorce affecting their productivity.
One other suggestion is to have an Arizona attorney draft an agreement much like a prenuptial agreement prior to starting a business together. Some couples find that it may be more difficult to have an agreement drawn up after filing for a divorce, due to the potential for a heightened emotional state. Alternative dispute resolution options such as a collaborative divorce or mediation could go a long ways toward helping divorcing couples achieve a comprehensive and fair settlement. In this manner, any unresolved issues concerning the shared business may be addressed within the context of the divorce proceedings to explore the potential of a continued business partnership after the marital dissolution is finalized.
Source: The New York Times, “When Couples Divorce but Still Run the Business Together,” Bryan Borzykowski, Dec. 5, 2012