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UFB Newsletter Issue #075 Involuntary Servitude
November 08, 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 8, 2007 Issue #075

Family Business... Business Family

Involuntary Servitude

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. I worked in my soon-to-be-ex husband's family business during our marriage but was never an officer or stockholder in the company. Since under the terms of our divorce settlement, I will receive half of the business, he claims I must continue working in it. I have been a valuable employee; I'm a good "rainmaker", our clients like me, and frankly, if I were in his place I wouldn't want to lose me, either. But I just want to get on with my life. What are my options? A. It depends on your divorce strategy - that is, how your settlement is structured. If the payout for your share of his share of a family business is going to be determined by its ongoing or future worth, rather than a settlement at the time of the divorce based on its then-valuation (even if it's going to be paid out over time), you may have some concerns about how well the company will do without you. It also depends on whether you plan to work in the same general field or industry after the divorce, and will be competing with your ex's firm for the same clients - clients you may have previously brought into the firm or whose accounts you primarily serviced.

There are a host of other potential liabilities that you will want your attorney’s help in avoiding.

You cannot be compelled to continue working - "involuntary servitude" is against the law. But if your divorce settlement is tied to the firm's future, you need to take steps to secure it - including making sure you're replaced by someone who can do your job as well as you did! This is a situation where having an independent family business consultant work with your lawyer on a divorce strategy is a good idea.

Harold Copus, our Director of Corporate Security, shares one of his many stories...

The Entrepreneurial Credit Manager reminds us of the need to use employee criminal background checks.


It costs you nothing... zip...nada... to ASK THE EXPERT. Most of our site pages have a link to a form that lets you submit your question to one of our experts. We try our hardest to respond within 48 hours.

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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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