When you first started your business, you and your partners probably chose each other because you believed that you were like-minded. You had the same goals, you respected each other’s individual strengths and believed you would balance each other’s weaknesses. No matter how strong your affinities, vision, and shared values, these arrangements are not set in stone and partnership breakups do occur. Knowing what steps you should take in the face of this situation often depends upon the reason for the breakup and the stance that the stakeholders are each taking. Here are some of the clear signs that you need a mediator or attorney during a partnership breakup.
- The first clear sign that you may need outside help with navigating a partnership breakup relates to what you did or did not do when you first established your business — namely, whether you created and signed a partnership agreement. A well-crafted agreement will address the majority of questions and issues confronting you, providing a clear path to each party’s responsibilities and rights.
- Some partnership breakups occur as a result of retirements, deaths, or similarly non-adversarial situations. If the partnership breakup is conflict-free and all stakeholders are behaving collaboratively then there is probably no need for outside intervention. However, if the temperature is rising rapidly and disputes are arising, it is time to bring in a mediator to help both sides communicate more effectively and find a way to reach an agreement.
- A mediator is only able to assist in a partnership breakup process when all parties enter into the process with the intention of preserving the business and allowing it to move forward. If one of the parties to the breakup is behaving in an adversarial way that makes it clear that the dispute resolution process will not work, it is time to bring in an attorney. Even if your goal is to avoid litigation, an attorney will have different standing in the negotiation process, speaking to contractual obligations and what the governing law demands of all involved.
It is never easy to end a relationship, especially if it has previously been successful. If you are not able to through the process without animosity and conflict, our experienced business law attorneys can help you navigate your partnership breakup and work towards the best resolution for all involved. Contact our team today!