What to do When Business Partners Disagree

So you have formed a business partnership, but one or more partners do not agree on an issue that is important to the business – what do you do now?

Plan Ahead

Do you have a written partnership agreement? Does it provide for a method of resolving disputes if they should arise? If so, a partnership dispute contemplated by the agreement can be easily resolved using the method provided in the agreement.  This method of resolving a dispute may involve a vote with all partners, with the majority vote deciding the issue.  Or it may involve a third party’s assistance in coming to a decision.  It is important to plan ahead for issues that may arise in the future, when possible, to prevent negative outcomes.

Make Time for a Discussion

Emotions may run high when partners disagree, making it important to avoid rushing to a judgment.  Make time for a discussion about the disagreement.  If the partners cannot come to an agreement on their own, consider hiring a mediator or other neutral third-party to help come to a resolution.  Mediators are trained in resolving disputes and can be very helpful in resolving the dispute.  Alternatively, an experienced mediator might be able to recognize when the partners cannot resolve the dispute and dissolution of the business might be the better option.

Consult an Attorney

If the partners cannot come to a resolution on their own, it may be time to contact an attorney to discuss dissolution of the business.  It can also be helpful to contact an attorney to consider options that may be provided in a partnership agreement.  An agreement may provide for buying out a partner who disagrees or dissolution upon disagreement.  Understanding these options and what may be best for you and the business is crucial to making an informed decision.

An attorney like Steve Welle can help you create a partnership agreement which contemplates disagreements down the road or help understand your options in an existing partnership. Contact O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss in Fargo, North Dakota or call 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002 to discuss your case.

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