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In-Law Loses Marriage, Keeps Job

Dear Advisor:

After a recent divorce, I expected my father to fire my ex-husband from his job at our family business. To my surprise, he did not. Now I face a choice - interact with my ex everyday in the family business, quit my job, or demand that Daddy get rid of him. What should I do?


Some family businesses have policies that permit only one spouse of a pair to work in the business. A purpose behind such policies is to avoid this sort of situation. For the sake of peace, in-laws are simply kept from the business.

Other families do what you would seemingly prefer. As a matter of policy, in case of divorce, it is considered to be in all parties' best interest that the in-law not continue to work in the family firm.

However, we recently met a family business whose attitude was quite different. Insisting that family matters be kept separate from business issues, this family business's leader insisted that no one got jobs because of family status. Since the young man wasn't hired because he was a son-in-law, he shouldn't be fired because he's no longer a son-in-law.

Different family businesses take different approaches to this issue. We hope your family has family meetings because we'd urge you to raise the matter there, engage your family in a discussion, articulate a policy and a rationale, and then make your own decision about your own response.

The Advisor

 

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