Richard C. Bardi & Associates LLC

Working with your ex at the family business after a divorce

One of the challenges that comes with having a family business is being able to keep the business afloat if you go through a divorce. For some, this means keeping a meaningful working relationship. If you have to continue to work with your ex because you decided to keep the family business structure the same regardless of the divorce, there are some points that you need to consider.

While you are working out the details of the business relationship, you need to be as detailed as possible. Each person should have a clear grasp of what their duties will be for the company post-divorce. This needs to be stated very clearly so that even staff members know who to approach with specific issues.

In your plan, there should be a clear method for compensation. This can be set up by each party getting a specific dollar amount in each pay period or it might be done on a percentage basis. Even fringe benefits and other similar points should be clearly conveyed in the document.

Because all business owners have disagreements at some point, there should be clear dispute resolution guidelines set in the document. One set should cover how minor issues will be resolved. Another should set up what happens if you can't come to an agreement, which could include seeking outside assistance.

The business is usually one of the largest assets that has to be divided in the divorce. Before you jump into continuing to run the company after the divorce, take the time to think about how you are going to handle various situations that might come up. It is better to be prepared than to end up blindsided by unexpected events.

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