Like any other type of relationship, those involving a business arrangement will almost always see disputes rise from time to time. No one agrees with everything all of the time but when this happens in business, it can be incredibly damaging to the company, and to any personal relationship between the parties involved.
Some of the most common disputes that arise in a business happen between the partners in a company. Although these disputes may not be preventable, it is important to resolve them quickly to minimize the harm.
Ways to Resolve Partner Disputes
Sometimes, disputes escalate between partners because no one party can have an objective view. Mediation is a great option to resolve the dispute. A mediator is a neutral third party who will meet with the parties involved and listen to all sides of the dispute. They do not make any decisions, but they do try and foster communication and compromise so the parties can reach an agreement.
Mediation is supposed to work for all parties, and any agreement reached will become legally-binding. Still, it is usually a far less expensive way to resolve disputes than other resolution methods, such as litigation.
Sometimes, a dispute becomes so heated that the partners involved can simply no longer work together. Still, one or more of the partners may want the business to continue. When this is the case, one or more of the partners can buy out the partner or partners that no longer want to continue in the company.
Ideally, a partnership agreement drafted at the beginning of the relationship will outline the buy-sell arrangement to follow. If this is not the case, a full valuation of the company must occur to determine the percentage of interest each partner holds in the business. Negotiations will then occur regarding the terms of the buy-out, and to identify the partners involved.
Partnership disputes often become so heated that none of the business partners want to continue running the business. If the business is still successful and viable, selling the business to a new owner may be the best option. In this situation, it is still important to value the business and to check the partnership agreement to determine if it outlines how this is to be done.
Business brokers, existing employees, and even a competitor are all good options when trying to find a buyer for the business. Any time ownership changes hands, it is critical to work with a trusted attorney, like those at Beth Santilli Law, LLC, to help you with the transaction.
Voluntary or Judicial Dissolution
In certain cases, it becomes quite clear that the business relationship cannot be salvaged and that the business can no longer continue. In these cases, it is sometimes necessary to dissolve the company. Sometimes, the parties involved in the dispute can agree to the dissolution and it then becomes voluntary. In this case, it is only necessary to repay creditors, file the necessary paperwork with the state, sell the remaining assets, and distribute the proceeds among the partners.
In some cases, it is not possible for the partners to agree on how to dissolve the company. In these instances, it is necessary to go to court and have a judge resolve the differences. In this case, one or more partners will file a lawsuit, but they will also have to agree and abide by anything the judge decides. While litigation is sometimes necessary, it is usually best for the partners to try and resolve the dispute before it gets to this point. Litigation is quite expensive and always has the potential to be very lengthy.
Partnership disputes always have the potential to arise when the business is facing financial difficulty. If the situation has become so serious that the liabilities outweigh the assets, the business is insolvent. In these cases, it is sometimes necessary to file bankruptcy. While no business owner wants to think about bankruptcy when they start a new company, sometimes it is the best option.
Filing bankruptcy allows a business to restructure their debt and continue with operations. In other instances, it is necessary to fully liquidate the business. In any case, it is always necessary to work with a lawyer that is familiar with the business bankruptcy process.
It is not uncommon for a dispute to arise when one or more partners have engaged in misconduct. Any time a breach of fiduciary duty has occurred, fraud, or a partner has misappropriated funds, these cases typically need to be resolved through litigation. In these cases, the partners not involved in the misconduct can file a lawsuit against the business owners that have not fulfilled their responsibilities.
A lawsuit can help the wronged partners recover financial compensation for any losses they have sustained as a result of the misconduct. Again though, it is always best to use litigation only when absolutely necessary. It is the most expensive form of dispute resolution and typically takes a long time.
Our Commercial Lawyer in Mt. Pleasant Can Help Resolve Your Dispute
If you have a partnership dispute, our Mt. Pleasant commercial lawyer at Beth Santilli Law, LLC, can advise on the best way to resolve it. Regardless of the option that is best for you, our skilled attorney will help you every step of the way, and give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us today at 843-216-0009 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.