It may seem like there is no better choice for a business partner than your spouse. After all, they are someone you already trust unquestionably, and you may have a good idea of their intelligence and work ethic. Beyond that, you may know that the two of you do a good job of working cooperatively, which means going into business together seem like a very smart choice.
Starting a family business could be a way for both of you to use your skills for mutual benefit and to provide for any children that you share. However, starting a business with your spouse will put a strain on your marriage, and any future issues with your marriage could do damage to the business. Proper documentation is crucial to your protection if you want to go into business with your spouse.
You need in-depth business contracts
If you are serious about running a business cooperatively, then you will need to negotiate a partnership agreement with your spouse. The two of you need to talk thoroughly about what each of you expects from the other and what you intend to contribute to the business.
You should also have a plan in place for when you have disagreements about the business or when it may come time for one of you to buy out the other. Thorough partnership agreements combined with a solid business plan will help protect spouses who want to become business partners and run a company cooperatively.
You may also need a postnuptial agreement
Running a small business will be hard on your relationship even when only one of you plays a role in the company. Working at the same business while also struggling to generate a profit could very easily strain your relationship with your spouse.
If the two of you negotiate a postnuptial agreement now, you can make it very clear what will happen with your property, including your business, in the event of a divorce. You will protect yourselves from messy litigation that could burn through your marital assets and endanger the financial future of your business.
Typically, spouses will each need to have their own lawyer if they want to ensure that such agreements will hold up under scrutiny in the courts later. Although it is very easy to assume the best when thinking about starting a business with your spouse, it is almost always better to plan for the worst-case scenario so that you won’t have countless unanticipated hurdles to overcome while already dealing with the challenge of starting a business.
Considering the realities of starting a family business with your spouse can help both of you better prepare for the challenges ahead.