When you and your business partner started the company, you felt like you could work together for decades. You got along, you both worked toward the same goals and you split the responsibilities evenly.
Now, however, it is clear to you that your business partner needs to go. There's just no way the company can move forward with him or her involved. How can you force that person out legally?
Typically, you have three different choices:
- Use the operating agreement you set up when you started the business. It may already lay out a procedure to remove someone from the company, such as having a vote among all active business partners. The agreement specifies what percentage you need.
- Negotiate to set up a new deal. Maybe you do not want to burn that bridge entirely, but you still need to remove that partner. You could sit down, explain the situation, and explain that you can use the operating agreement to kick them out legally, but you'd rather forge a new deal to make the separation easier. They may go along with it and appreciate you giving them a hand in creating the terms.
- Head to court. This is almost definitely going to end that business relationship forever, but you may have no other choice. For instance, maybe the business had a rather informal start and you do not have an operating agreement. When there's no set procedure, the court may need to help you determine how to move forward.
No matter which option you choose, make sure you know exactly what legal steps to take. The last thing you want is a long, drawn-out process.