Relationships are already difficult, but combine them with business, and it takes on another level of complexity. Being in business with an ex can be stressful, but you can do a few things to make it better for everyone involved.
While it is inevitable that you will have to work together some when you are in business with your ex, dividing up responsibilities will help you keep separate as much as possible. It is best to divide up responsibilities based on what you are each good at. Chances are you are gifted in different areas, so if one person is better with numbers and the other person is better with design or customer service, divide responsibilities along those lines. Once you divide responsibilities, you must let the other partner handle it; do not step on each other’s toes.
With any business partners, conflict is bound to come up, but it can be more problematic for exes as any conflict could bring up the history and bad blood. For this reason, you must have a plan in place for conflict resolution. It is an excellent idea to hire an unbiased third party and help you work through any major conflicts. Many people hire divorce lawyers to keep working with them while figuring out the business aspects of their divorce.
Have Clear Boundaries
You may have heard the advice given to couples who are in business together: “Keep business out of the bedroom.” Well, when you are exes in business, you need to keep your bedroom out of business, which means setting up firm and clear boundaries. Do not bring up old relationship conflicts or go down a “remember when” rabbit trail. Also, when you start exploring new relationships, do not confide in each other about them. Keep your personal life at home and your work life at work.
Sometimes when you are going through a divorce, trust can be broken between the two partners. If that was the case for your relationship, you need to work on establishing trust, at least as far as business goes. If you do not trust each other, you are more likely to develop major conflicts and step all over each other in the office. If you are working on re-establishing trust, keep communication lines open, and it may be a good idea to see a counselor.
Recognize Your Need for Each Other
Acknowledging that you need each other can be extremely beneficial in keeping a positive work relationship with an ex. Whether it is for financial stability or children, or any other reason, acknowledging that you need each other can help you keep everything in perspective. Doing so will force you to work more like a team and less like competitors. Every time you talk to the other person, remind yourself that they are important to you (for your finances, children, etc.), and you will find it easier to keep a respectful tone.
With these things in mind, you can find it to run the business with your former spouse. It doesn’t have to be as troublesome as it sounds.