Choosing the wrong business partner can set you up for disputes

Choosing the right partner with whom to start a business is a bit like getting married. Make the right choice and you can look forward to many happy years ahead. Pick the wrong person and you are trapped in a shared misery.

This can be particularly precarious when your partner is also your spouse, a blood relative or an in-law. The negative effects of a soured business partnership can then bleed over into your personal relationships and create havoc with family unity.

What the numbers say

Making the right choice at the outset can make the difference in your shared endeavor being one of the 30% of businesses that succeed as opposed to the 70% that are doomed to fail.

Too close for comfort?

If you are already in a partnership with a spouse or relative, you may be able to salvage both relationships when business disputes arise by maintaining a division between the business relationship and your personal ties. That means not glaring at one another over the mashed potatoes and gravy during Sunday dinner due to disagreements over a personnel matter or other disputes.

You have to be able to put aside personal feelings about your business partner when it's time to make crucial decisions regarding your company. If you and your spouse are divorcing and your brother-in-law is your partner, you can't let acrimony creep into the business side of the relationship or it will be detrimental to your company's future.

When disputes arise

Just like all relationships wax and wane over time, your business partnership will likely have its share of ups and downs. That's normal and generally not something to worry too much about. But sometimes issues arise that are unresolvable between the partners without legal intervention.

It may be that the best course of action is to dissolve the partnership and both partners to go their own ways. The problem is that it can be much stickier to get out of a business partnership than it is to enter into one.

If such is the case for you, your first step should be to seek professional legal guidance to protect your rights in California when severing business ties.

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