Managing a Business With Your Ex-Spouse: How Hard Could it Get?

small business owners

Many couples get married because they make a good team in everything, including work. If both spouses are business-minded, they’d most likely start a business. The professional partnership will strengthen their marriage and prove yet again how perfect they are together.

But several years down the road, things could change. The couple would realize that managing a business challenges their principles in many ways. Plus, work can interfere with personal life, making a marriage go stale or parenting duties to be set aside. They’re thinking of getting a divorce but wonder how the business will be affected after their separation.

Exes who work together aren’t unheard-of. The owner of one Unishippers logistics franchise are ex-spouses who make the business thrive despite their situation. But is this possible for every divorced couple, or should you just dissolve the partnership?

What Happens to a Business After Divorce

Divorced couples who run a business together can buy the other out of business. You can sell off your shares and move on to another venture where your ex isn’t involved. If you’d like to stay in business, but your ex doesn’t, then you can buy them out of business. But if neither of you would like to relinquish ownership, you can keep managing it together. The only challenge would be keeping your emotions in check, especially when you make decisions.

Even if a divorce is amicable, things between you and your ex can still get messy. Often, when couples get divorced, it’s because their values have become different from each other, or trust was broken. Either reason can make managing a business difficult. The tension between you and your ex may affect meetings with the board, for example.

Working with an experienced divorce attorney can make the process as stress-free as possible. A lawyer will help settle your disputes as fast as possible, allowing you to work on your business without those disputes holding you back. However, you may also need to work with a therapist because your emotions can still get in the way of managing the business.

Once you and your ex have settled down, you may focus on the business and continue strengthening your professional partnership. In some cases, divorce can even make exes closer because the relationship anxieties have been tackled and removed. If you’re having a hard time being professional with your ex, though, that’s completely normal. Everyone recovers from such an ordeal at different paces. The key is to take things slow and remember what’s important, which is to keep the business alive even if it cost you your marriage.

small business owners

How to Manage a Business With Your Ex

There are no written rules on how exes should work together as business partners. But if you need something to keep you grounded, these are the tried-and-true methods that helped many exes thrive in their businesses:

  • Don’t Make Your Colleagues Uncomfortable

A word about your divorce would spread in your workplace in no time. Even if everyone acts professionally around you, they’re going to feel the tension between their bosses regardless. So try your best to make the environment calm. Avoid letting your employees see you and your ex interacting unless you’re discussing something purely work-related. During meeting with other managers, ensure that you have a level head so that you won’t make decisions out of resentment or the like.

  • Define Your Roles

For exes with clashing values, defining their roles will help them avoid further conflict. For example, if you’re into numbers, focus on finance and accounting tasks, and let your ex focus on whatever they’re good at. Avoid working in the same department if that’s what has caused your rift in the first place.

  • Divide Legal, Financial, and Emotional Issues

If you’re dealing with child custody, keep that issue out of business. Likewise, let the financial and emotional matters of the divorce stay where it’s supposed to. Basically, don’t let the divorce complicate your management duties. They’re entirely separate issues, so don’t bring them up while working.

  • Don’t Forget Making Agreements for Your Family

Just because your business partnership went well doesn’t mean the issues around your family have disappeared. Don’t forget to settle your disputes after work. Make agreements regarding child support, visitation rights, and more. Don’t let these issues on the back burner for fear that it’ll ruin the civility you’ve developed. The children may suffer as a consequence of that. So while it’s crucial to keep personal matters out of work, don’t pretend that they don’t exist either.

Working with an ex isn’t meant to be easy, but it’s totally possible, as proven by the successful businesses run by exes. But don’t pressure yourself to be like other divorcees. Focus on your own healing, and everything will fall into place at the right time.

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