Business "partners" are very similar to marital partners and they too will have disagreements, which, if not resolved, may lead them to a divorce of their mutual business interests. Our experienced attorneys will work with clients from the inception of disputes, through negotiation and, if necessary, severance of the corporation, partnership or limited liability company. If negotiation is unsuccessful, we will efficiently litigate until the business divorce is complete.
All players in the business divorce arena – business owners, judges, lawyers, and other professionals and affected parties – recognize that these cases can involve extremely intense, personal disputes and animosity between co-owners who often must continue their unharmonious co-habitation at their place of business whilst they litigate against one another. The family-owned business adds yet another dimension of disruptive behavior.
The all-too-often consequences are high-maintenance cases characterized by a plethora of motions, including serial applications for interim relief, that take up a disproportionate share of scarce judicial resources; that prolong case disposition; that can damage the business; and that end up costing the parties substantial litigation fees and expense that could be better invested in settlement or the business.
The majority of business divorce cases eventually terminate with a buy-out settlement which, quite often, is the same settlement that could have been reached at the outset of hostilities. Our attorneys will work tirelessly to streamline these difficult cases, to get more quickly to the buy-out or other disposition.
- Early diversion to mediation, either through the court ADR program or by engagement of a private, full-time, professional mediator.
- Appointment of a neutral business evaluator.
- Identify party interests as buyer or seller or both.
- Determine feasibility of closed auction or shotgun buy-out.
- Explore dissolution proceedings and/or derivative actions.
- Identify and address asymmetries that can facilitate or impede case resolution, e.g., ownership of affiliated companies, benefit of status quo, use of company funds to pay legal fees.