Divorce is personal. Really personal. When something goes wrong in a relationship, it may be very difficult to fix, and it may have been very difficult to predict just what would go wrong. A small business relationship, with two owners, is a great deal like a marriage, and some business owners might spend more time with their co-owner than with their spouse.
This, of course, can lead to problems and potentially a divorce. But what if the co-owners of the business are also spouses? This can be a marriage made in heaven, or that other place, depending on how well each aspect of the two relationships interacts.
Many a time, the failure of the marriage foreshadows the demise of the business. The two people develop such an aversion to each other that the prospect of working together becomes abhorrent.
There can be, glaring exceptions to the rule. One couple profiled on NPR discussed how, in spite of their divorce, their business, a public relations firm, has done well. They were able to separate the elements of their personal relationship from those of their business.
This kind of compartmentalization may be difficult for most, but if your livelihood depends on the business, you may have to put aside those personal issues, go through with a divorce, and then move on and run the business.
This can be a concern for family businesses, especially those where sons- or daughters-in-law join the business. In these cases, it may be important to consider the use of prenuptial agreements, or other legal instruments to protect the business.
If an in-law becomes a crucial member of the business, however, it may be necessary to consider that in both your family and business law planning.
Source: NPR.com, “When Divorce Leads To A Happily Ever After For A Small Business,” Yuki Noguchi, April 17, 2014