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When divorce and business collide: Tips for business owners

Going into business with your spouse seems like a natural thing to do. As long as the marriage is going right, running your business together will likely be easy. If the marriage starts to go south, taking care of the business might not be easy.

You have a few ways that you can handle the business if you end up going through a divorce. You can close the business or sell it. One spouse can buy the other one out. The other option is that you and your ex can continue to run the business together. This would take some work, so consider these tips:

Define each person's role

You and your ex should sit down and decide what you are each responsible for. Write out these duties so that you have something to refer to down the road if questions arise.

The more detailed your roles are defined, the better. This is because you don't want to have to make decisions about who has to do what in the heat of the moment.

Keep things professional and courteous

If you do continue to run your business together, make sure that you and your ex have a professional relationship. You can't let your personal life invade the business relationship. This is easier said than done when you are dealing with the end of a marriage.

It is also important that you remain courteous with your ex. You don't want to seem short or terse since these can have an impact on your employees and your clients. Even if you and your ex are getting into disagreements on a regular basis, those should occur behind closed doors so that your business doesn't start to suffer.

Set up the partnership documents

When you start a business with your spouse, you likely didn't formalize the partnership with appropriate legal documents. Once you are divorced, you need to get these documents formalized. There are many things that you have to consider here. You need to determine if you require trusts to keep the business assets protected in case either you or your ex remarries.

It is important that you remember that you have to protect yourself and your business when you are going through a divorce. This can be complicated when divorce and business ownership collide, but there are steps you can take to make sure that this happens.

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