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Kathy Marshack News

Does Planning for the Possibility of Divorce Set You Up for Failure or Success?

Monday, August 15, 2016


You’ve finally found true love and the idea of planning for divorce is furthest from your mind, but if you want to be happy ever after it shouldn’t be. No one likes to think that a happy marriage can end, but evidence shows that it happens every day. And burying your head in the sand and ignoring that fact isn’t the wisest way to live.

Often entrepreneurial couples start out happy in their businesses and marriages. Then when one is forced to stop working in the business in order to care for family obligations, resentment can flare up and destroy the peace and happiness they once knew. I’ve seen it happen too many times.

You may be surprised to learn that the entrepreneurial couples that are happiest are the ones that plan for an amicable divorce or dissolution of the partnership. Why is that? Not only do these couples have a legal document to follow (such as a prenuptial or partnership agreement), but they also become very aware of what could go wrong, giving them time to make contingency plans so the worst won’t happen.

Here are five very important questions to ask yourself…

  • What if the business grows so big, we need to get bigger facilities?
  • What if something happens so that one or the other partner needs to quit work and focus more on home management?
  • What are the desires of each partner with regard to career and business?
  • What are the desires of each partner with regard to the children and family development?
  • What are the desires of each partner for our marriage?

Paradoxically, by planning for the possibility of divorce right from the start of a marriage and business venture, the entrepreneurial couple has to focus on those things that actually will help strengthen their marriage and business partnership. By digging deeply into who you are, and what you want, you have the opportunity to negotiate with each other to make your desires come true. Instead of resentments building, the trouble spots are planned for. You have a better chance of facing the problems head on, learning from them, or even avoiding them. Planning for the worst in this case isn't a prescription for divorce, but insurance against it.

Remember the question isn't "What do I do with my business or marriage/family if I die?" The question is "What do I do with my business or marriage/family when I die?" And the question isn't "What do I do with my business and marriage/family when we divorce?" The question is "What do I do with my business and marriage/family if we divorce?" Death is inevitable and those who don't face this one are avoiding their responsibilities to others and courting a miserable demise for themselves. Divorce on the other hand is not inevitable, but avoiding thinking and talking about the possibility is just as foolish as ignoring the inevitability of death.

If you want to get started planning for the worst but hoping for the best with regard to creating a healthy, long-term, successful marriage/business partnership with your spouse, try asking yourselves this question: If one or the other of us wants a divorce in the future, why would that be and what can we do now to prevent this? Often it helps to consult with a objective family therapist who can facilitate this conversation. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

Learn more on my website: Marriage Counseling.




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