The break-up of a partnership is no different from a divorce. Let’s call it a business divorce. It is every bit as emotionally, financially and physically taxing as leaving your spouse. Much like a pre-nuptial agreement, it is imperative that you have a partnership or operating agreement in place at the start of the relationship which outlines the terms of your relationship and which will control the disposition of business income and assets when the relationship breaks up. A well drafted agreement will make the final stages of the separation easier by ensuring that each party’s rights and responsibilities are clearly defined. Without such an agreement, you are just playing Russian Roulette and are guaranteed to incur massive amounts of counsel fees in the ensuing litigation. While the relationship may start on a handshake, it will not end that way and a smart business owner will ensure that they have a solid contract in place to protect them. 3 Tips to Ease a Business Divorce BEFORE it Happens 1.Have a clearly defined operating/partnership agreement. 2.Protect and preserve business documents to ensure that your counsel has a good understanding of the finances and issues of the business. 3.Document all steps taken by your partners and put them on notice of any unacceptable behavior.