While alone, divorce is often a complex process, it is that much more difficult when in addition to being partners in marriage, those divorcing, are also partners in business. In many situations, in the course of ending the marriage and dividing assets and debts, they often opt to end their business relationship as well. Other times however, a couple may be able to keep working together despite divorcing. To make this course of action work there are several things ex-couples may need to do.
The first is to take the time to set ground rules. This is helpful not only in the context of business, but can be applied when children are involved, too. A couple might agree to keep emotions not only separate from work, but from their children as well.
Because conflict could negatively impact the business by, among other things, damaging morale, emotions should be kept in check. To accomplish this, it may be necessary to work with a therapist. In addition, objective third parties such as board members may be helpful in managing conflict. Defining the roles each of you play in the business can also help in this regard.
A variety of business matters should be formalized including how someone can separate themselves from it should the need arise. Depending on the specific matter, this can be accomplished multiple ways including via a trust or by creating a buy-sell agreement.
There is no guarantee that following these tips will keep a business in which ex-spouses are both involved, operating well. They are a good place to start however. A lawyer can help both when spouses seek to continue on with a business, as well as when they opt not to.