Breaking up is hard to do in business and personal relationships. In marriages, pre-nuptials can ease the process. In business, it comes down to your partnership agreement.
People forget that all business partnerships end eventually. Some fall apart within weeks, while others last years. Yet, even if it takes the death of one of you to finish your relationship, no partnership can last forever.
Check what provision you have in place
If your partner announces they want out, the first thing to do is dig out your partnership agreement and carefully read through it. If your contract was well thought out, it should outline how you go about separating. For instance:
- How much notice a party must give
- If the remaining partner has the first option to buy them out
- How the price is set
Those things can help if your partner is looking to leave. Yet what if they do not want to go, but do not want to continue working with you?
When your business relationship breaks down, but neither is willing to give up their share, you should again turn to your partnership agreement. If one of you holds a majority of shares, perhaps the contract allows that person to insist on buying the other out in a specific manner?
Mediation and arbitration may be options, especially if you stipulated them in the contract. If you cannot find common ground and both refuse to budge from your positions, litigation may be your only choice.
Before plunging headlong into a bitter dispute, you need to understand your chances of success. However sure you are that a court will side with you, get legal help to ensure your optimism is not misplaced. Once you understand how the law would see it, you can set about choosing your best option.