Legal Question in Business Law in Washington

Cheating wife with business partner.

Is there some type of law that would allow me to go after my now divorced wife and still current business partner. for having a personal relationship during both my marriage and business partnership?

Asked on 5/14/08, 1:38 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Susan Beecher Susan L. Beecher, Atty at Law

Re: Cheating wife with business partner.

Ouch! Very painful situation for you and I'm sorry to hear it.

As far as your former wife is concerned, you cannot do anything. Washington State does not recognize marital misconduct as a matter to be taken into consideration in the courts. (They certainly don't deny that it happens; it just is not a legal consideration.)

As for your business partner, I would have to know more facts about your business and how this may have affected the business. It is possible that you might be able to fashion a claim based on breach of his fiduciary duty if you could show damage to the business. It's a fantastic stretch, and I would have to put some hours into reviewing case law before I could say with confidence that there is something there.

I know this is a painful time, but I encourage you to think in practical terms about the future of the business. Can you and your business partner continue to work together? I'm guessing not, but if so, a lawsuit is definitely not a good idea. If you cannot work together, what will happen to the business? Will he buy you out? Will you buy him out? Will you sell the business and split the proceeds? How to proceed on these questions will depend on the nature of your business, what sort of entity it is (really a partnership, or an LLC or something else?) and many other factors.

You have lost a lot already. Don't throw away your interest in your business by acting on your (justifiable) feelings. If you cannot work with your partner any more, your interest in the going concern still has value, so you need to come out of the deal with your fair share of that value.

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Answered on 5/14/08, 12:13 pm

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