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4 Ways to Settle Business Partner Disputes in Florida

Posted on in Business Law

Sunrise business law attorney

Years ago when you and your partner started your business, you were likely both on the same page. Perhaps you are family, best friends, or simply co-workers who came up with a brilliant business idea together. Whatever your outside relationship may be, when it comes to running a business, you must maintain a sense of professionalism, especially when arguments arise. Rarely do business partners agree on every decision being made, but some disagreements can become more contentious than others. There are four ways in which you and your business partner can settle a dispute, some of which can be done on your own while others require outside help.

1. Referring to Your Management Agreement

Those going into business together should always plan for future disagreements that are inevitable when it comes to business partnerships. It is impossible for you and your partner to completely agree on every detail of your work, which is why business partners are advised to create a management agreement before going into business together. If you have both been in business together for years, you likely created a management agreement and may not remember the exact details. Before taking steps forward, refer to your management agreement to see how you and your partner should be handling things. Perhaps you included a clause that required you to go to mediation or maybe one partner has veto power over the other. If you have a management agreement, this should be your first place to turn. If you do not have one, you can choose any of the following options.

2. Negotiation

When a disagreement arises, partners should always attempt to negotiate. Many arguments can be settled by giving each party some time to think about their point of view then presenting this information to their partner. Before hiring a third-party or bringing your attorney into things, you should first try to work things out as a team. Not only will this save you time and money, but it also shows that you respect your business partner enough to discuss things upfront first. Both parties must recognize that compromise comes along with negotiation. If you are unwilling to compromise or listen to your partner’s point of view, you will likely need to turn to a third party for help.

3. Mediation

Business partners who are unable to reach a compromise on their own may benefit from the help of a third-party mediator to guide the discussion. Mediators are trained in alternative dispute resolution techniques to help arguing parties find a happy medium. Mediation is a more affordable option as only one mediator will be hired -- rather than each party having to hire their own mediator -- allowing you and your partner to split the costs. Mediation also allows you and your business partner to remain in charge of the decision being made rather than giving this ability up to the court.

4. Taking Things to Court

If you and your partner have exhausted the options outlined above, you will need to defer to the court for help. The ultimate authority when it comes to business disputes is a judge. Partners attempting to force a buyout or take full control of the business can file a civil suit. The judge will set a price for the partner’s buyout or make the decision to liquidate the business entirely. Their capabilities will depend on state law and the business structure.

Contact a Broward County Business Law Attorney

When you own a business, your partner and coworkers can begin to feel like family. While families are bound to argue, it is best to have a gameplan in place for the times when disagreements do arise. Elliot Legal Group helps business partners create management agreements while starting their business and come to a resolution when arguments begin to surface. Whether you are looking to discuss things inside or outside of the courtroom, Attorney Elliot is prepared to help you every step of the way. Contact our Fort Lauderdale, FL business lawyer at 754-332-2101 today.



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