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Table: Rocky Road: How to Stay Married and in Business Together


1. Have clearly defined roles and lines of authority. Dividing responsibilities helps keep personal tensions from spilling over into the business. One spouse might handle sales, for instance, the other the technical side of the business.

2. Leave business problems at the office. "Your house is your haven. When you walk through the front door, shop talk should be banned," says psychologist and family business expert Fredda Herz Brown.

3. Don't use the business to fight your personal battles. "It distracts you from your work and unnerves your employees," says Jeffrey Brend, a divorce lawyer and CPA.

4. Make it legal. Having an exit strategy for your business in writing could prevent big problems later, says Charles Shainberg, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

5. Don't try to split up both your marriage and your company at the same time. Evaluate whether being business partners or spouses is the real problem.


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