WHEN A BUSINESS DISPUTE IS ALL IN THE FAMILY
At law school, business law and family law are two completely separate areas of study. They hardly overlap each other in any way. Lawyers come out of college the same way, rarely overlapping between these two completely different areas of law.
Out in the rest of the world, however, it’s a lot more complicated. Many business are family owned and operated, ranging from small stores to consulting firms to just about any kind of business. When something goes wrong, it’s a matter of business law and family law at the same time. The clients best interests are usually served by having both on the team.
Disputes in a family business
If a couple which owns a business is planning a divorce, they are likely to start with a family law attorney. But in many cases, a business dispute is just one part of a rift growing between two partners in work and life at the same time. It’s not all that uncommon for an argument over daily operations to move on to a more bitter dispute where everyone wants to go their separate ways.
Sometimes, mediation can patch things over. Sometimes the couple is headed for divorce. In all cases, however, a business law attorney who is handling a family business with a serious dispute should have a family lawyer ready for consultation.
Many times, however, it’s not the founding couple who are having a dispute, it’s their children. Family law can come into plan in a large number of different ways in any family business. Experts in business law should never hesitate to bring in a consultant when this arises.
Simply being prepared
Even when there is no immediate dispute, there might be a need for a family law attorney. For example, every partnership in business needs to have a dissolution clause in their agreement. In the case of a married couple, that should be reflected in a prenuptial agreement which mirrors the partnership but is written for the needs of family court.
When a couple is already married, a postnuptial agreement can take the same place. It’s best to have everything covered for a smooth operation no matter what if a family is relying on their business as a main source of income.
Practitioners who understand
Not all family law practitioners understand the need to be consultants, or are willing to be the second banana on a complicated case. If you’re up against a potential family dispute it’s important that you bring in a consultant as soon as possible.
Family law attorneys have a lot of different tools in their toolbox. The best way to serve a client with a family business issue is to make sure you have it all right there for them.