It’s sad but true. Business divorces happen. And like any other split, they can take a financial and, yes, emotional toll. Partners who once committed to invest their time and resources to build something together may find that their goals, values, and motives have changed. When the separation is amicable, it can be manageable enough and the right thing for all involved. Far worse is when one or more partners begin acting for themselves and against the best interests of the business, often ignoring important obligations they may owe to their co-owners.
Business ownership disputes often have layers of complexity beyond typical breakups. What duties do partners, shareholders, managers, or members owe to one another or the business? It depends on the type of entity. Those formation documents that you looked at once and stuck in a file cabinet—what requirements do they impose and what rights do they give you? Did somebody act without a required notice or vote? Was there self-dealing or even embezzlement?
If your stake in a business is jeopardized, or you’ve been exposed to losses by a misbehaving partner, you should consult with an attorney to discuss your options.