While marriage can be rewarding, it is something that often needs a lot of work and can have its own set of challenges. Similarly, while a family business can be successful, it does not always go smoothly and can take a lot of work from all parties involved. When you combine both a marriage and a family business, it makes sense that there can be times when conflicts arise and working on both your marriage and your family business can be difficult.

It is not unusual for marriages to struggle due to a family business; however, there are ways that you can reduce the risk of divorce if you find yourself in this situation. To help keep your marriage and family business together, we have outlined a few tips below:

1) Communicate Business and Marriage Issues – This may seem obvious, but it is too important not to include. If there are any issues that arise as a result of your business whether they are financial issues or business conflicts that you feel are getting in between you and your spouse, discussing them can help to save your marriage as well as make managing your business more successful and enjoyable. The more you communicate with your spouse, the better off your marriage will likely be.

2) Agree on Similar Business Philosophies At one point, it is likely that you and your spouse had the same business philosophies. As time goes on, it is not uncommon for these philosophies to change; however, as they change, all parties involved should be openly discussing them and ultimately agree on a mission statement for the  family business. This can help everyone feel as though they are an important stakeholder in the company, and it helps to keep everyone on the same page and following the same business philosophy, which can have many benefits.

3) Avoid Taking Advantage of Your Position – If you are involved in a family business, it is common for one spouse to have a higher position within the business than the other. Even though this is a typical situation and can work well, it can sometimes cause one spouse to feel inferior to the other thus creating issues between each other and within the business. Identifying roles and the importance of each within the business and agreeing on the roles of each spouse can create a clear picture for each spouse involved and help both the business and their marriage. In addition, ensuring each spouse congratulates the other on a job well done, when appropriate, can help make them each feel accomplished and happy to be in this business journey together.

4) Focus on Achieving Business Goals with the Family in Mind – Whether the family business is one that you had started before you met your spouse or is one that you and your spouse started together, it is important to ensure business goals are created with your whole family in mind. For example, if the spouse that started the business envisioned the business becoming one that grows substantially creating more responsibilities for management, and since then, you have created a family with your spouse and have additional responsibilities in other aspects of your life than before, ensure both you and your spouse are on the same page, have the same goals, and have your family at the heart of everything you do. If these business and family goals do not align, your marriage may struggle.

RELATED: Learn more about divorce and family business.

There seems to be one main theme throughout each of these tips, and that is communication. When you can openly discuss topics with your spouse, often you will find your marriage in a better place than it was before.

Over the years, Wilder Mahood McKinley & Oglesby has successfully represented hundreds of clients, ranging from small-business owners to shareholders in multimillion-dollar corporations. If you are a business owner and are seriously considering divorce, our Pittsburgh family business attorneys can help you obtain an accurate business valuation, as well as assertively defend your interests in that business in the face of a divorce proceeding. 

For more information about how our law firm can help you, contact us online or call us at 412-261-4040.

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