There is one major cause of business collapse that is never
mentioned in the textbooks.
Divorce has probably wound up more otherwise viable companies
than falling sales or poor cash flow management.
First there is the stress and distraction. Then there are
the practical problems that come when business secrets are disclosed in court.
Finally, there is the impossibility of carrying on a business when a
substantial proportion of the founder’s assets are either liquidated or
transferred to someone who henceforth must be treated as an outsider.
There are even cases where an angry owner has effectively
shut down the business rather than let a hostile spouse derive any benefit from
Some recent divorce settlements make you wonder if the
secret purpose of “Family Law” – as it is called euphemistically – is really to
discourage anyone from ever marrying in the first place.
Certainly, from an entrepreneur’s perspective, divorce is a
business risk – but an avoidable risk: if you never marry, there is one less threat
to the business.
Against that, the right spouse can be a valuable source of
emotional, moral, and practical support through the long, difficult, and often
very lonely years of building a business.
Someone like that, a true partner in every sense, deserves a
share in the business.
The law, however, is a blunt instrument, and makes little or
no distinction between the supportive spouse and the gold-digger who only moves
in after the business has finally become successful.
So, strictly from a business perspective, divorce should be
avoided if at all possible. The best way to do that is not to marry at all – but,
if you are married already, stick with your spouse and ignore the temptations
of the gold-diggers who always come with success.
Paul advised – in a very different context – “it is well for a person to
remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free
from a wife? Do not seek marriage... I want you to be free from anxieties.”