Though a romantic relationship has run its course, a business partnership of spouses may be thriving. PR Newswire reports an estimated 64% of U.S. gross domestic product comes from family-owned businesses, and married couples run about 1.2 million of those businesses.
If a couple decides to disentangle romantically but remains together commercially, the following suggestions can help to make the transition smoother.
Decide on goals and put arrangements in writing
Even in an amicable divorce, partners should clearly define business responsibilities. Defining equity and duties is essential in any partnership. The separation likely requires the partners to dictate previously presumed parameters. If a business agreement already exists, the split is an optimal time to review and draft a new one.
Bring in assistance
Navigating the new boundaries of the relationship may be bumpy at first. The time spent forming the new arrangement could take away from working on the business. A contractor or employee may be able to relieve the load. A coach or consultant may also be able to help guide decision-making.
Prioritize respectful communication
Friendship is not a prerequisite to a successful business partnership, but respect is. Ex-spouses must be open and honest about their objectives for the firm. Business conversations should not devolve into personal attacks or rehashing grievances about the divorce.
Respectful communication extends to customers, vendors and employees. Customers likely appreciate the reassurance that the company will continue functioning as they expect. Team members and vendors should know how changes affect their jobs and contracts going forward.
Though managing a company with a former mate adds challenges, respectful and mature individuals can succeed. Clear and focused goals with attention to the big picture can allow ex-spouses to thrive while continuing their business.