Managing a business with your spouse is not a new occurrence. It comes with its own challenges, but many couples can do it successfully today.
However, there are occasions when a personal conflict between two spouses results in a divorce. In this situation, determining the best course of action regarding your business is often a difficult task. Consulting a divorce attorney is advisable during this time to allow you to come to a conclusion that is agreeable to both parties.
It is good to remember that divorces do not always have to result in closing a business or having one person buy the other out. Contrary to popular belief, former spouses can work together. It just takes the right mindset and the right priorities to do it well.
Rules to Know Before Working with Your Former Partner
Before making the big decision to keep working with your former spouse, there are some things you need to consider first. Here are the best tips to keep your business with a former partner thriving even after a divorce.
1. Determine the reason for your divorce
Often, these are difficult to revisit, but understanding why your divorce occurred in the first place is vital to the success of your business. The grounds for your divorce say much about you and your former partner’s capacity to keep working together.
For instance, if the reason for the separation was due to a break in trust caused by infidelity, financial dishonesty, or lying, then realistically, it will be difficult to trust the other party with business matters. On the other hand, if the circumstances of your divorce are not due to a loss of trust, then working together may remain a possibility.
Amicably divorced business partners even have the advantage of knowing each other well as they continue to do business together. This opens an opportunity for easier decision-making and better planning for the success of the business.
2. Clarify each of your roles and responsibilities
You and your former spouse both offer different strengths to the table. By clearly identifying what roles you play in the business and sticking with them, you avoid potentially butting heads. Keeping to the roles assigned to you also allows you to value your former spouse for their contributions to the business.
As you both work out these details, find out how productive the remaining business partners are by looking at the numbers. Computing the financial benefits of staying in business allows you to understand not just the advantages but also the importance of remaining professional in your dealings.
3. Have outside experts and partners provide advice
When working with a former spouse, it is important to have a trusted set of people who can weigh in for big decisions and even help resolve disputes. If you have a board of directors or an advisor, involve them in these discussions.
You can opt to employ a business coach, too, to provide guidance in specifying and clarifying what your roles are in certain projects. A coach can also determine if it is advisable to continue to do business together in the future should a conflict arise.
4. Stay focused on your business
The transition from marital partners to solely business partners can be tough. However, you should stay away from distractions that could get in the way of your performance and threaten the success of your team.
Leave any personal ill feelings at the door when you discuss entrepreneurial matters with your former spouse. Remember that now, they are simply a business partner. Treat them as you would your other work associates.
5. Establish Healthy Boundaries
Despite previous experiences, treating your former spouse as a business partner means not discussing personal matters with them during work hours and in meetings with other employees, partners, and clients. Make work hours strictly for work so that you do not get into a habit of mixing personal issues with the business.
Something to note is that this delineation of the boundaries between work and personal concerns is easier to accomplish when you both have already worked in the business before your marriage. This means that there were already expectations between the two of you that you only need to follow after the divorce.
If this is not the case, remember that working with your former spouse remains possible, but it entails more intention. You need to be mindful of your disposition and emotions. Mastering your thoughts and feelings will make a whole difference in navigating the changes and challenges of your business with confidence and impartiality.