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Dispute resolution can help when divorce involves a business

Getting a divorce can be difficult under any circumstances, but perhaps more so when the splitting couple owns a business together. There are several ways business related issues can be handled during a divorce. The couple may decide to sell the business and split the proceeds, one party may wish to buy the other side out, or the divorcing parties may wish to continue to own the business together despite their marriage dissolution.

There are several aspects parties in these situations should consider. First is to make sure personal, emotional issues are not tangled with business issues. As hard as it may be, it is vital these two areas are kept separate so the proper decisions can be made regarding each. Second, if the divorcing parties decide to remain in business together, they should clearly delineate their business roles. Doing this may avoid micromanaging or, if necessary, keep the parties from working directly with each other.

Third, parties who remain in business together should consider leaving themselves a way out. Despite advanced planning, working with a former spouse may not turn out the way the parties intended. By giving one's self a legal out, he or she protects him or herself from being trapped in an unsavory work environment. Fourth, those going through these types of divorces, or any divorce for that matter, should surround themselves with a legal, financial and emotional support group.

While deciding what to do with a business during a divorce can be complicated, it does not have to be a long, drawn-out, heated debate. Instead, the splitting couple can opt out of a traditional court-centered divorce in favor of divorce mediation. Through this process, a neutral mediator works with each party and their attorneys to reach a fair agreement that leaves both parties happy. This type of dispute resolution may make the divorce process easier and help end the marriage on amicable terms, thereby allowing the parties to go on with their lives with the possibility of continuing their business together.

Source: Entrepreneur, "If You Run a Company Together, What Happens When You Divorce?" Kate Taylor, Feb. 25, 2014

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