In our last post, we talked about the possibility of continuing a family business built during a marriage even after the marriage has ended. While not for every couple, there are some who can really make it work. As promised, here are a few tips that help couples adapt to the new relationship so that the business can continue to run smoothly.
First, it is important to remember that while you may no longer respect your spouse as a spouse, they did help build the business. It is important to respect the other as a business professional in the workplace. You don’t have to date them anymore, but you do have to work together so communication and respect of the other’s input is necessary.
While you can go into a work relationship with the intent to respect the other and work together, it isn’t always the easiest feat. Seeking the help of a relationship professional can help a couple adapt to the new partnership. They can learn how to effectively communicate, separate personal emotions from work-related opinion.
Addressing the issue with employees is more important than some people think. When a relationship is in the process of breaking down, each spouse may share with their employees their feelings or opinions. In other cases, employees take sides and it can have an effect on the success of the business. If you are going to work together, make it clear to your employees too.
Lastly, and this one will require the assistance of your attorney. Create a new business agreement and put it down on paper. Write down the rules that will govern major business decisions. How will they be made? What happens if or when one spouse wants out? What if one spouse wants to sell?
Source: The New York Times, “When Couples Divorce But Still Run A Business Together,” Bryan Borzykowski, Dec. 5, 2012