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How to handle co-owned family business after divorce

Divorcing your spouse does not mean it is the end of the road for your family business.

After nearly a decade together, you decide to split. Inevitably, you two are at different places right now than you were 10 years ago. However, there is one thing you do not want to give up on – your family owned business. It is understandable as you invested your blood, sweat and tears into it. We have some tips on how you could manage to run your co-owned business after divorcing. As long as you have resided in the state of Michigan for 180 days, you should be able to file for divorce assuming there are no other complications.

Stay tasks oriented at work

Perhaps you remember Denzel Washington’s quote from the film “Remember the Titans” (2000): “I don’t care if you like each other or not, but you will respect each other.” After the divorce, talk to your spouse to come up with a plan on how you two could continue to coexist in a working relationship. Keeping things focused on the tasks rather than the social dimension is an option to keeping the business intact while going separate ways in your personal life.

Leave all problems from home, or in this case in your divorce, outside of the office. Once you two step on the grounds of your company, talk only about your company. Try as best as you can to communicate with each other from the perspective of colleagues. Perhaps, it is easier to get in this state of mind when the focus is on making the company better. If you both care about the business to the point neither one of you want to let it go, devising a plan to communicate with each other should be a priority. Remembering your collaboration is key to making the business a success could be the mindset to go with.

As heads of the company, your staff members are relying on you two to make it work. Think of your staff members and all else who benefit from the success of your company. Thinking of all these factors should keep you in the mindset of keeping things tasks oriented.

Dividing tasks

The divorce was brutal. The sight of one another irks you. Divvying up tasks could be most productive. Cleary, in this situation face-to-face communication will not work, so by dividing and conquering you would be getting the necessary work done. Depending on your skill sets, this individual work from both sides may be an effective method where both parties’ strengths continue driving the company forward. If one specializes in marketing and the other in finances, dividing those tasks by who does what bests would prevent the company from losing any one of your values. Both parties are essentially still providing what they best bring to the table.

Business as usual

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Through the years, you two have had personal problems and struggles outside the workplace but managed to keep things professional once you clocked in. Now that you are divorced, this should be no different. While you two were not “meant to be” as far as husband and wife, you two certainly make a good team as business partners. Don’t change. Continue to function as the same way before and look at your divorce as a positive. You both wanted a divorce so you could move on in your personal life – not your business life.

What about who gets what when it comes to the businesses profits after the divorce? Seek help and approach this from a business standpoint as you would anything else. If you two cannot find common ground then consider dividing the company in the divorce. In doing so, both parties can move on with their personal lives while keeping your career on track.

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