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UFB Newsletter Issue #074 Divorce and Former In-Laws
November 01, 2007
The Key To Family Business Success
ISSN 15465640

Understanding Family Business brings you articles and tips from Family Business Experts who understand family values and business systems.

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Understanding Family Business

November 1, 2007 Issue #074

Family Business... Business Family

Former in-laws

Dr. Jane Adams is our Family Business Divorce expert. Dr. Adams is a social psychologist, author of best selling books and a sought after speaker. She has appeared on many of the top TV news and talk shows, including the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Q. "My daughter's divorce means I'm losing a key manager as well as a beloved son-in-law. Is there any other solution besides showing him the door?"

A. When divorce makes former in-laws out-laws, both family and business boundaries in a family business change.

Consider the business ramifications first: Does he want to stay on? Is it in the company’s best interests to keep him? Do your board members, key execs and other family members who actively work in the family business agree? But don't ignore the emotional aspect of your decision, either. Will keeping him in the family business place too much strain on family loyalties and relationships? Would your daughter and/or spouse and/or other children support such a decision? Can you and your former son-in-law put some emotional distance between you and create new personal boundaries, more appropriate to colleagues (or boss and employee) than to members of the same family?

The terms or conditions agreed to in a prenup, trust or other instrument may have already set up how their individual or joint ownership, equity or stock in the business is to be divided in the event of a divorce. If not, untangling the financial as well as marital ties that bind them without adversely affecting the family business often requires additional legal advice. Untangling the emotional ties that once bound two people to a family business sometimes needs a different kind of expertise – not just emotional intelligence, but “boundary intelligence” as well.


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That's it for this issue. If you have any comments, or if there are any topics you'd like to see covered, please let us know.

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