Co-Founder Divorce

Updated: May 13, 2021



When you started your company with your business partner(s) you probably did not think there would come a moment in which you would think about breaking up.


And then a few years later, you face one of the following issues:

  • your personalities mismatch,

  • you have different working styles,

  • there is misalignment of business visions,

  • you feel there is an unequal distribution of work or

  • you have unresolved disagreements.


Unfortunately this happens a lot in start-up life. Maybe a single issue is manageable, but having to handle two or more of them is difficult, especially because they can also be intertwined.


The option of ‘getting divorced’ may come to your mind, and you ask yourself if that may bring the relief you are looking for.


One thing is for sure; if and how you separate will define the relationship and have major consequences for the business.


Before you start a dialogue, it helps to realize that it easily becomes negative and destructive. The delicacy of the subjects suddenly induces escalation. We help you to listen to understand, so you can get divorced respectfully.


The aim of having a confidential third party at the table, who facilitates, is to transform potential or actual conflicts into constructive talks.


This means getting aware of the perception of the other and clear about the underlying dynamics in the relationship. Expressing and acknowledging (different) interests, opens the way to explore what separation should look like and from there you can agree on what the outcome should be.


When we talk about concrete solutions in a co-founder divorce, the clauses in the Shareholders agreement will be leading. In this context we will address the consequences of the divorce on:

  • the amount of shares (repurchase or transfer of shares),

  • on the invested capital,

  • the IP,

  • the future (business) relationship and

  • the communication to other in-/external stakeholders/parties.


Your business and your relations are way too precious to listen without understanding.


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