Mixing Business and Divorce

Business and Divorce

While the law views a marriage as a partnership, some married couples have a similar view and as a result decide to run businesses together while married. When divorce is on the cards many couples are unsure whether to remain in business with their partners or dissolve the business entirely. This article will discuss some factors to take into consideration when deciding to stay in business with your ex-spouse.

A 2007 Census Bureau estimate showed that about 3.7 million businesses are owned by married couples, therefore, the implication is real in respect of divorce process when it comes to business owning couples being faced with complicated decisions, both business and personal, if they decide to end their marriage.

Business and Divorce

It must be noted that working together after divorce is an admirable goal, however, it may not be a realistic one for many divorcing couples. Generally, a divorce is an emotional and contentious matter due to a number of reasons. This is because during a divorce a couple has to divide assets, such as the marital home and properties, they need to agree on child custody, visitation and alimony. And as a result divorcing couples do not see eye to eye on these issues especially where considerable assets are involved. This is especially true in respect of contested divorce litigation. While many judges would say that divorces do not belong in court, due to the number of issues that couples are not able to agree upon a contested divorce can turn an already strained relationship sour. A number of people may argue that a trust relationship in a marriage is not exactly the same as the one in business; the element of trust is essential in both respects. As a result re-cultivating a relationship of trust after a divorce may lead to business failure.

It is important to note that a divorce can be contested or uncontested. It must be noted that a contested divorce is when the spouses disagree on some or all the issues within the divorce. In a contested divorce both parties must set out their positions and views on the issues in dispute. Contested divorce may be settled in a number of ways such as outside of court, through negotiation or through formal divorce procedures. However, an uncontested divorce is where both parties agree to separate and are able to reach an agreement as to all the details in respect of the divorce.

When parties cannot agree to the terms of a divorce the parties try and reach a settlement outside of court. Where a settlement fails, the couple proceed to trial where a judge will make the decision based on evidence and testimony. Given the already contentious process of negotiating the terms of a divorce, adding in a business that needs running can really complicate matters. Divorced spouses often have a hard time maintaining a civilised relationship and as a result of trying to run a business together it puts a real strain on both parties as well as the business itself.


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