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Does divorce always equal dissolution?

11 November 2013

It is often said that good business partnerships last longer than most marriages, but what happens when a couple divorces and their business continues?

Dissolving a business partnership can be as complex as a divorce when assets must be split, property sold and employees/children to consider. So it is no wonder that an increasing number of couples in business together decide to remain in business after their marriage has ended, to avoid further financial and emotional stress.

However, couples also choose to keep their business going because in that area they have a strong, complementary partnership. In the UK family owned businesses account for 66 per cent of all small businesses and employ over 9 million people; accounting for 40 per cent of private sector employment.

According to the latest Office of National Statistics report on divorce rates in the UK, 42 per cent of marriages end in divorce; yet many of these couples continue to work together in business.

Staying in business after a divorce

Keeping a close working relationship with an ex-partner may not work for everyone and many divorced couples prefer to spend as little time together as possible. There are obvious risks involved in maintaining a business relationship when your personal one has failed, but there are also advantages.

Couples who have achieved success in business after their divorce often put it down to a mutual trust and admiration for one another’s business skills. They are likely to understand each other well and thus where their strengths lie, which if the divorce can be resolved amicably could lead to a thriving business as they each have a clearly defined role in the company. A joint stake in a flourishing business which they are both passionate about is also a compelling motivator to resolve arguments maturely in order to keep it running; much like a divorced couple with a child.

Famous couples who stayed in business

Throughout the twentieth century there have been famous couples who have remained in business together after their marriage ended, some ending happily, others less so:

  • Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton – The Hollywood fairytale that ended in two divorces for the pair. Following their initial divorce in 1974 the couple remarried a year later only to divorce for a second time nine months later. The pair worked together again in 1983 for their hugely successful Broadway revival of “Private Lives”.
  • Jack White and Meg White – The pair achieved huge success as the White Stripes from 2001, though by then the two had already divorced after their four year marriage ended earlier that year. They continued to receive international acclaim for their musical accomplishments until the band split in 2011.
  • Christine McVie and John McVie – One half of Fleetwood Mac, they were divorced the same year the band released their most successful album ‘Rumours’ in 1977, and remained with the band to release five more albums.

Making your business partnership work after divorce

If you are going through a divorce and are concerned about the future of your business, speak to the expert partnership law solicitors at Ralli. We will provide you with the advice you need to ensure that your partnership remains successful, whether that be re-assessing your partnership agreement, or discussing terms for dissolution.

For more information about how Ralli Partnership Law solicitors can help you, please complete our contact form or speak to our team on 0161 832 6131.

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