Staying Co-Owners of a Business after Divorce

Dec 1, 2021 | Sara Khaki

People who are getting divorced but wish to stay in business together could probably obtain court approval as long as both parties agree to remain in co-ownership. The question, however, is whether the business will remain successful under co-ownership post-divorce. For advice and insight on staying co-owners of a business after getting divorced, get in touch with a member our team.

Four Business Essentials

Being successful in a business partnership requires four critical things.

1.) Common Vision

The first is having a common vision. If one of you wants to scale the company to 50 million and the other one just wants a lifestyle business and to continue receiving whatever distributions you’re receiving to date, you’re not going to be successful business owners together. Whether you’re spouses or not, whether you were married at one point and now divorced, if two owners have different visions for where the company’s going, you’re not going to be able to successfully manage that business.

2.) Common Mission

The second thing is that you have to have a common mission, which is the reason for the business and your reason for being in the business. How are you improving your community? How are you improving your customer’s lives? You both have to be passionate about a common mission.

If you’re not both passionate about the same mission, your business is not going to be successful because one of the owners is going to be willing to compromise or devalue what the other is trying to do. This will make it difficult for you both to own this business together.

3.) Common Core Values

Having the same core values as your co-owner is also crucial for the success of your business post-divorce. For example, if business owners have very different values about business and about people, they’re not going to be successful together. Each business has different core values, and the owners must share those core values if they’re going to be successful.

4.) Different Contributions

The fourth key to a successful post-divorce business is bringing different things to the table. Business owners bringing the same talents to the company is not going to work either, since they’ll just be stepping on each other’s toes. What’s best for your business is you and your spouse bringing different contributions to everything else. Having the same vision, being passionate about the same things, valuing the same things, and being different in every other way is what makes a business successful post-divorce.

What to do when Your and Your Spouse’s Business Goals Don’t Line Up

If you’re trying to achieve something different in your life than your soon-to-be ex spouse – whether that’s a better lifestyle, a nicer house, things of beauty you want to experience, certain trips –  you have to change. If you continue to operate the way you operate today, you are going to continue to get the results that you get today. At a certain point, somebody who’s trying to achieve bigger things in life will have to change the way they think and look at life in order to get different results.

When you first get married, you’re at a certain place in your life with a certain mindset and point of view. 10 years into the marriage, your mindset and your point of view is going to be drastically different. Because you’ve been constantly working to change the way that you think and your point of view of the world so that you can have a better life.

If your spouse isn’t making those same changes, then you might start growing in different directions. When spouses end up growing significantly in different directions, it might not be worth it for them to continue co-owning a business after divorce.

Work with a Business Coach

Otherwise, if you and your spouse chose to grow together in your business despite getting divorced, you can both be advocates for the vision and mission in your lives. Many successful co-owners have a business coach who meets with them individually and together.

Divorced spouses can remain in constant conversations about what it is they’re trying to achieve in life, the income they’re trying to achieve, the people they’re trying to serve, how they’re going to serve those people, and how they’re going to improve their community. These are discussions that divorced co-owners should have regularly to make their business stronger.

Owning a business together requires a joint vision, and that vision has to become one that the whole family campaigns behind. Staying co-owners of a business after divorce can actually help you grow post-divorce rather than fall apart.

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