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Who will run the family business after a divorce?

For many divorced couples, their children keep them in contact with each other for potentially years after the divorce is finalized. Managing child custody arrangements and child support agreements can be trying, especially when the relationship between the adults has dissolved.

However, some divorcing couples without children experience a similar difficulty during and after a divorce. According to The New York Times, the Census Bureau estimated 3.7 million businesses were owned by married couples in 2007. Divorce impacts couples who own businesses together, just as it affects couples of other professions.

When married couples who own a business together decide to divorce, making decisions about the business may be challenging. Some may want to run away from the business, so as to avoid seeing a former spouse. However, as divorce can be challenging financially, leaving one's job and business during a divorce may not be a feasible financially.

Divorced couples who decide to continue operating their business together will likely want to discuss how they will manage to maintain a stable relationship in the workplace after their personal relationship has ended.

One couple who owns a law firm together was married for eight years before deciding to split. They decided to continue operating the business together, but in order for this to work, the couple had to actively work on their business relationship. This couple divorced six years ago and state that they continue to work well together and are still running a successful business.

However, managing a business with a former spouse will not be the best choice for every business-owing divorced couple. For some divorced couples, continuing to operate their business together could be harmful for the business. Each couple will want to consider their business relationship and working styles to determine whether one or both spouses should leave the business.

Source: The New York Times, "When couples divorce but still run a business together," Bryan Borzykowski, Dec. 5, 2012

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