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Mediation is the Rational Solution for Business Divorces

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A significant part of my litigation practice over the last 30 years involved disputes among shareholders of closely-held businesses. These disputes are emotional, expensive, and time-consuming. There is a good reason they are referred to as “Business Divorces”.

Typically, they will last 4 to 6 years and cost $200 to $500 thousand dollars in attorney fees, accounting fees, and costs. Unfortunately, in most states the courts do not have the authority to impose what is most necessary – a forced buyout. This means the shareholders, already in the throes of a dysfunctional relationship, remain bound to one another.

The dispute takes a serious toll on the business itself. These disputes always involve successful businesses – no one would fight over a failing enterprise. By draining the capital, energies, and attention of the small business owners away from the business, these disputes often end up seriously weakening the business indirectly as well.

Mediation is well-suited to “Business Divorces” and should come