Many married couples run businesses together. In 2007, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that around 3.7 million businesses in the U.S. are ones that are owned together by a husband and wife.
What happens when a married couple that runs a business together decides to get a divorce? Some couples decide to end their business partnership along with their marriage.
Some couples, however, decide to continue being business partners. Some tricky and impactful issues can arise when one's business partner is also one's ex-spouse. Recently, an article on the New York Times' website gave some tips regarding how to deal with some of these issues.
One of the issues that can come up when a divorced couple are business partners is how the divorce impacts the former couple's ability to work together in the business setting. If a former couple isn't able to work together because of anger and bickering, it could cause great harm to the business.
The New York Times article gave a couple of pieces of advice on how to try to retain a strong working relationship with an ex-spouse. First, it said that a person should always try to maintain respect towards an ex-spouse when the ex-spouse is also a business partner. Respect can go a long way in a business relationship. Second, it said that, if a divorced couple that runs a business together is having trouble working together, they shouldn't be afraid to seek help from a professional (such as a therapist) to try to mend the working relationship.
Another issue that can arise when a divorced couple are business partners is how the divorce will impact the business' employees. An end of a marriage of two partners of a business could potentially lead to uneasiness and side-picking among the business' employers, which could be quite harmful overall to a business. The New York Times article suggested that one way for a divorced couple to potentially head such things off is to develop and give a common message to employees regarding the divorce which is open about the divorce and which reassures employees regarding the stability of the business.
Source: The New York Times, "When Couples Divorce but Still Run a Business Together," Bryan Borzykowski, Dec. 5, 2012