Attempting to run a family business while in the midst of separation is challenging. The law has some ways of managing interim issues in businesses, but they can be heavy handed and not always in the interests of the long-term growth and management of a business.

The court system is a very expensive place to clarify what is going on in a business and is one of the leading causes of costs blowouts. It can also take the operator away from the business for many hours and days. There are better ways to manage the exchange of information and ultimate ownership of a business, whilst looking after each person’s rights, and minimising the impact of separation on the business.

Consider a collaborative approach, where each party retains a lawyer, and all commit to resolving disputes without going to court. This method promotes open communication and joint problem-solving, which can be crucial for maintaining business continuity and fostering a cooperative atmosphere.

Additionally, setting up clear governance structures and documentation for the business can pre-empt many conflicts. This includes having well-defined roles, responsibilities, and decision-making processes in place. Regularly updating business agreements to reflect any changes in personal circumstances can also help manage expectations and reduce disputes.

Ultimately, the goal is to find a balanced approach that safeguards the business’s viability while ensuring fair treatment for all parties involved. By exploring alternative dispute resolution methods and maintaining transparent communication, families can navigate the complexities of separation without sacrificing the business’ future.

This excerpt is from ‘Breaking Up Without Breaking Down’ – Dr Tina Sinclair, Tricia Peters

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