Although trite, the saying that a business partnership is like a marriage is often correct. Partnership disputes will happen, and they can lead to lost profits or the end of the partnership. However, with careful planning, business partners can prevent unfortunate outcomes. The best way to handle disputes is to have a written agreement from the start that spells out your rights and obligations with respect to your business partners, as well as the method by which disputes must be resolved.
Anyone thinking about forming a business partnership should have a written partnership agreement even if (or especially) if your partners are close friends and family members. Like a marriage, communication is critical. A good partnership agreement leads to proper communication between partners. Partners must have a clear understanding of how to treat business assets, opportunities and liabilities. In addition to specifying roles, partnership documents lay out a plan for what will happen if there are changes among the individual partners or if the business shuts down. People can leave, move or even die; therefore, buyout provisions are critical.
Business Partnership Disputes
Business partners have fiduciary responsibilities to each other and to the business. There are many causes of partnership disputes, but some of the most common reasons are:
- Misappropriation of assets belonging to the partnership
- General disputes about how to utilize partnership resources
- Misappropriating “business opportunities” that belong to the partnership
Partnership Dispute Resolution
Our Tampa attorneys are experienced at resolving partnership disputes with or without court intervention. When emotions run high, it may be difficult to think rationally and communicate effectively. It is our job to communicate your interests to the other side. We realize that bad blood between partners can destroy the business. Settling a dispute requires more than just evening past scores─it is about placing you in position for success down the road.
When business partners cannot settle their differences, Lieser Skaff Alexander can help dissolve the partnership via the following:
- Voluntary dissolution. We can facilitate dissolution of the partnership if that is what all of the partners desire. We can help you address how to deal with on-going business projects and how to divide assets and responsibility for debt.
- Involuntary dissolution. If only one partner wants to end the partnership, he or she can file a lawsuit and the court will order dissolution of the partnership and allocation of the assets and liabilities. In certain disputes, the court could also select a receiver to oversee the partnership until dissolution is final.
If you are forming a partnership, let the attorneys at Lieser Skaff Alexander help you draft a solid partnership agreement. If you are anticipating a partnership dispute, then let us help you resolve the matter. Our law firm can explain your rights and duties associated with the partnership. Do not allow a partnership dispute to ruin your business and your investment into the business.