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The end of a marriage need not be the end of a business

There are many family run businesses in Calgary, often with both spouses playing a crucial role in operations.  But with an increasing number of divorces in Alberta those businesses may be at risk. Divorce is often an emotionally difficult time and many couples operating family businesses assume divorce will automatically bring the business to an end.  This isn't necessarily true. Many couples are able to separate their personal lives from their business lives enough to continue to work with a former spouse, particularly if that business generates income for both parties.

However, one of the most important things for anyone going through a divorce or separation is to work with his or her family law lawyer to separate and evaluate the pros and cons of operating a business together. Although there may be emotional, financial or legal issues that would otherwise prevent both from continuing to operate the business, those issues can often be resolved with the assistance of a family lawyer and mediator.

Often, each spouse will have skills that complement the other's.  For those who choose to continue working together following a divorce or separation it is critically important important to lay out in writing their respective responsibilities and obligations.  Moreover, sitting down to figure out who does what helps to identify why it is important to continue to work together, if only to recognize each other's skills.

Just because two people move in different directions with their personal lives doesn't mean they need to end their business relationship. For those who are genuinely interested in separating their emotions from their work and preserving business assets and opportunities, it can be done.

Source: Entrepreneur, "If You Run a Company Together, What Happens When You Divorce?" Kate Taylor, Feb. 25, 2014

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