If you and your spouse complement each other, work well together, and support each other, does it makes sense to go into business together? Can you effectively be partners in marriage, partners in parenting, and partners in business? Although it may not be easy, many couples have proven that the answer is yes—a business partnership with your spouse can be very rewarding.
As rewarding as it can be, there are a few steps that must be taken in order to protect your partnership—inside and outside the office:
- Have a detailed plan that you both agree on
- Be specific about each of your job descriptions to avoid stepping on each other’s toes
- Agree on the amount of risk you are both willing to take
- Know each of your strengths and weaknesses
- Have a safety net
- Be sure you are both contributing to your own retirement plans
- Don’t skimp on the paperwork; have an attorney draft the documents you need to protect your business and your personal assets
- Plan personal time together when work is “off-limits”. Vacations, regular date nights, a business cut-off time—all of these can be helpful in setting boundaries and preserving the romance
- Hope for the best, but plan for the worst: have your attorney help you draft a buy-sell agreement in the event that one (or both) of you someday wants to gracefully step down
Being in business with your spouse can be paradise or perdition, and at times it will probably be a little of both. Each family—and each family business—will be different, and our office can help you navigate the tough legal terrain to find the best fit. Being prepared and taking the right legal steps will bring paradise a little closer by allowing you to relax and enjoy what you and your spouse have built together. Whatever your arrangement, don’t neglect the future. In business, having a good plan is the best protection there is.
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