What happens when your business partner goes through a difficult time?

What happens when your business partner goes through a difficult time?

If you own a business or advise business owners, you know that having a business partner can be one of the most fulfilling relationships (outside of a marriage). It can help “round out” your skills, give new perspective to your business, and allow the company to grow much faster than it would if you were the only owner.

As individuals, we were built for relationships. Business is no different.

But we can all go through difficult times in our lives. Sometimes people make poor decisions. Other times events occur that are completely outside our control. We can be seriously injured in a car accident. We can have health issues that prevent us from running the business or—even worse—that we unexpectedly pass away from. Business partners can also make bad or even malicious decisions that impact the financial position and reputation of the company. Finally, business partners can go through marital challenges that end up painful divorces.

All of these events have huge ramifications for that the business owner’s personal life. In some cases, they can have a catastrophic effect on the business.

Business owners should have an agreement with their partners that lays out how these events will be handled. They’re often referred to as “shareholder,” “buy-out,” or “operating” agreements, depending on the type of business entity.

Importantly, these agreements can be created at a time when no crisis is going on and the owners thoughtfully decide issues like whether they want to potentially be in business with their partner’s ex-spouse after a divorce. Or, they can decide if one of their partners passes away, how is that partner’s spouse going to be bought out and to avoid a costly probate process?

If a business owner already has an agreement like this, it’s important to have it reviewed and make sure that it’s still consistent with the goals of all of the business owners.


Cunningham Dalman, PC publishes this web site and its component parts to inform users about our firm, our attorneys and general new developments in the law. The web site and blogs are not intended as legal advice on any matter. There are many factors that may affect your situation. You should not act or refrain from acting because of information found here without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice from someone who is familiar with your particular circumstances.

In the operation of this web site and our blogs, we do not intend to create an attorney-client relationship with you and no such relationship shall be created by your use of this web site. Such a relationship can only be established to the extent an attorney at Cunningham Dalman, PC expressly agrees to undertake the relationship. Please do not communicate to us any information you regard as confidential unless and until we have established a formal attorney-client relationship with you. Any information you send to us before we establish an attorney client relationship may not be privileged or confidential. Information you send to us over the Internet may not be secure.

Our Practice Areas
Our Practice Areas

Recent Posts


Cunningham Dalman P.C.
PO Box 1767
321 Settlers Road
Holland, MI 49422-1767

Google Map


Scroll to Top

Tell Us How We Can Help You

Send us a quick message or call us at 616.392.1821!

Seminar Registration

Fill in the form below to reserve your spot today for each person attending. If you have any questions, please call the office at 616.392.1821.

Call Now Button