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Things to consider when starting a business with one's spouse

Some spouses share an entrepreneurial spirit and decide to start a business together. There are many things it can be important to talk about and plan for when going this route with your spouse. This includes what will happen if things don't work out.

Planning for if the business fails

Starting a business comes with risks. There is always the chance that the company won't catch on the way one hopes and will end up going up under. While this may seem like an unpleasant thing to think about, it is a possibility it is important for spouses to discuss when launching a startup.

Having such conversations can allow couples to put plans in place for things such as:

  • What they would, and wouldn't, be willing to put at risk in efforts to save the company
  • What would happen if the business has to shut down
  • What they would fall back on financially in this event
  • How they would move forward from such a shutdown

By having such plans in place, couples can help reduce the chances that a future business failure, should it occur, would lead to big and surprising financial shocks that could put a heavy strain on the marriage.

Planning for if the marriage fails

Just as a jointly-run business breaking down could have impacts on a marriage, a marriage breaking down can have major ramifications for a company's future. Disputes and uncertainty over how such a business would be divided in a divorce could arise which could create a lot of chaos for the company.

This is another area where planning in advance could smooth things out and reduce the potential for problems. There are ways that a married couple, when starting a business together, can lay out a clear path for what would happen with the company if a divorce were to arise. One of these is to form a postnuptial agreement with terms regarding the business. Skilled attorneys can help married couples with forming well-tailored postnups aimed at achieving their goals, such as protecting a newly formed company.

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