Tips for Business Owners Contracting Into, During, and Out of a Relationship Developing your business is a life long adventure. You consult with a professional team to support its growth, strengths, and overcome its weaknesses. Your spouse or partner may be working alongside you or managing the family giving you the space and time to focus on your latest innovations. Entering into a new relationship and wanting to secure your wealth and assets or inheriting the family enterprise from your retiring parents? Maybe you are making the tough decision to separate after unsuccessful attempts to reconcile your disparate ways. Whatever the impetus, such events bring sharply into mind your desire to determine the future of your legacy. Control and Privacy for the Family and your Business Interests: Using out-of-court collaborative family negotiation or mediation keeps the process confidential and private. Meetings are conducted out of the public eye and you maintain control over the decisions to be made. Anchor the Negotiation with Full Financial Disclosure: Full financial disclosure right up front. One of the first steps is having business valued for family law purposes. Investments, partnerships, intellectual property also need to be disclosed and valued. Building trust and reducing the fear and anxiety for both spouses makes for a smoother process. Jointly engaging experts familiar with and trained in business and property valuation will help you gain accurate picture of the health of the business. Two spouses, two voices: The focus is the future wellness of the business, the family relationships and the children. A good domestic contract is fair and balanced, flexible to adapt to change, and mutually beneficial to both of you. Both spouses sharing in the economic partnership have a voice in the negotiations and resolutions of their differences. Vetting the best options with strong legal, tax, and corporate advice ensures a durable and equitable agreement. Cooperation and Collaboration – Engage from a Position of Strength: Whether you are developing joint ventures or disengaging the joint management of a family business sharing the joint authorship of any domestic contract entails listening to each other. Resolving the orderly distribution of wealth, sharing or eliminating debt, or facing changing commercial matters deserve an emotion-free dialogue. Managing the Business during Negotiations: The business needs your attention and so does the negotiation process. Set up an in house transition team to manage your loss of productivity and time away from work.