Believe it or not, but ex-couples (divorced couples at that) can run a business successfully without resorting to dividing the business or liquidating its assets. It depends, of course, on your situation. Every couple is different, and there are times when it’s going to be so hard to separate your emotions from business decisions.
You don’t only pour your emotions into your marriage, but into the business as well. You invest time and money into your business. Together, you know it’s still possible to see it succeed. But what happens when you decide to get a divorce? Does it mean you need to divide the business, too? Is that practical or should you try to run it together?
Talk About It
The first thing you need to do as a couple after you decide to get a divorce is to enter into a divorce mediation process. It’s not to try to save a marriage that clearly does not work for you anymore, but to set common goals especially if you have a business to run and children to rear. Here, you’ll decide if you should sell the company and divide the proceeds. But if you do decide to keep running it together, you have to make sure you are ready for the overwhelming challenge of dealing with your ex-spouse.
Because try as you might to avoid seeing and dealing with each other, you’ll have to sit down for meetings. You cannot keep on sending emissaries whenever there’s a problem at work. So, if you cannot be civil to each other, forget about managing the business together.
Recognize Each Other’s Contributions
The ex-couple needs to understand and recognize each other’s contributions to the company. What are the skills that you both need from each other? Recognize that these skills are important for the growth of the company. While you don’t need to praise your ex-partner at every turn, you have to let him/her know that you appreciate the valuable things he/she does for the business. This will lead to mutual respect, which is an important component in every business relationship.
Define Your Roles
The truth is that ex-married couples cannot work in the same department. No matter how mature you think you are, your past relationship will affect every meeting and decision. If you are good at sales, then stick to that. Let your partner handle the personnel department or the marketing unit. Find your niche and your very specific roles in this new chapter in your life.
Divorced couples are not known to agree with one another. While they can be civil, it’s hard to work together daily. The best way to go about running a business together is to define your roles and stay on your lane. You can give suggestions, but you have to show respect to one another.
The dissolution of a marriage doesn’t mean that the ex-couple has forgiven each other. Sometimes, they are more argumentative when the divorce is finalized. It can bring out the worst in people. The key to working together is to understand that bad behaviors will not help the business. You have to adjust and grow as business partners now.
The important thing is to be mature about the whole process. Marriages don’t always work, but business partnerships can with respect and open-mindedness. You need to learn to compromise. You both have to be professionals, which means keeping your personal lives out of your business decisions. If you have to argue about the kids or the separation of assets, do so in another place and never your office.
Make Sure There’s No Third Wheel
The hardest part about becoming friends with an ex is to see them happy with someone else. It is human nature to be jealous of other people, especially when it comes to someone you are romantically involved with. It’s even more difficult to stay as business partners when the reason for the divorce is a third party. Now, when you do decide to forgive (and even forget) the cheating part of the relationship to become business partners, the other party must make sure the new partner will not be visible in the business.
Staying as business partners even after a divorce is possible. It can work if you make it work. With respect, attention, consciousness, and a bit of friendship (and love), your business can flourish even if your marriage did not. There is no reason for the both of you to drag your business into the mud with your marriage. You can compromise and work so the business, at least, can survive and maybe even thrive.