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Protecting Your Interests in a Partnership Dissolution 

Martinez Law Office, Inc Nov. 7, 2022

Nobody enters into a business partnership imagining it will need to be dissolved one day. Unfortunately, a laundry list of unexpected life events, like market downturns, a change in a partner's professional direction and goals, bankruptcies, retirements, and deaths, can all force the potentially complicated issue of dissolving your business partnership. When this happens, it's crucial for the business's ongoing success that the remaining owner proceeds with a legal dissolving of the partnership as swiftly and efficiently as possible. 

To help you navigate this process, let’s review the fundamental process of partnership dissolutions and five essential tips to keep in mind during the proceedings.  

The Process of Partnership Dissolution  

Dissolving a business partnership can be a relatively straightforward process as long as both partners' goals for the dissolution are in alignment.  

Partnership dissolutions go into effect upon signing but require business debts to be settled, assets to have been distributed, and legal termination of the business to be official before going entirely into effect. 

Most business partnership dissolutions follow four simple steps. 

1. Analyze Your Partnership Agreement 

Partnership agreements often outline policies, procedures, and approved practices for the dissolution of the partnership. Business owners exploring partnership dissolutions must abide by any guidelines or policies in their partnership agreement to avoid potentially serious legal challenges or consequences. After reviewing your agreement and noting any relevant rhetoric, you can move on to step two. 

2. Broach the Topic with Your Partner 

Clear and honest communication is essential when dissolving any kind of partnership. Business owners interested in dissolving their partnership should open dialogue regarding their view on the partnership's future, explore plans for squaring away remaining debts, and discuss dividing the business' assets with their partner.  

3. File a Dissolution Form 

Filing a dissolution form with your state government publicizes your partnership dissolution and provides legal protection against ongoing liabilities for your former partner's debts. Dissolution forms are only required to be filed when individuals filed official paperwork with the state when the partnership was formed. 

4. Settle Shared Accounts 

After your dissolution form has been filed, all that remains to complete your partnership dissolution is the settling of shared accounts and assets. Close your shared bank accounts and discuss how you'll handle the remaining debts and assets.  

Your partnership agreement likely includes provisions that dictate how shared debts and business assets will be divided in the event of a dissolution. If not, a skilled business attorney in California can help you and your former partner create a mutually beneficial agreement.  

Important Tips in Partnership Dissolution 

Navigating a business partnership dissolution can be an overwhelming challenge, especially when you're running a business. Here are five quick tips for individuals who want to explore a dissolution but don't know where to begin. 

1. Hire an Attorney  

Working with an experienced business attorney can help you gain invaluable insight into the strength of your case, the stipulations created by your partnership agreement, and potential roadblocks that could complicate the proceedings.  

2. Take Your Time 

Most people don't rush into business partnerships—and there’s no need to rush out of them. Be sure to review all the pertinent facts and details before approaching your business partner about a dissolution to ensure you've accurately assessed the situation. If you're not entirely confident in the strength of your arguments for a dissolution, work with an experienced business attorney to review your case and protect your interests. 

3. Give Written Notice of Dissolution to Vendors & Clients  

Providing written notice of your business dissolution is crucial to protecting yourself from ongoing liability. By providing your clients and vendors with written documentation of your dissolution, you can ensure you are no longer liable for debts, obligations, or responsibilities related to your previous partnership.  

4. Assess Existing Agreements 

The details of your partnership agreement can make or break the success of your dissolution attempt. If a dissolution under your current business circumstances is prohibited or would otherwise breach facets of your signed agreement, you may need to explore alternative strategies. 

5. Have the Dissolution Agreement Notarized or Witnessed  

Notaries and witnesses provide an additional layer of legal protection and peace of mind after completing a business partnership dissolution. Notarizing your dissolution agreement can also prevent potentially painful and costly lawsuits in the future. 

Honest Legal Guidance: Martinez Law Office, Inc.  

Are you considering dissolving a business partnership in or around Santa Ana, California? Don't try to navigate this complicated, confusing, and consequential court process alone. Call Martinez Law Office, Inc. today to begin building a strategic dissolution roadmap that minimizes contention and maximizes efficiency. I've successfully guided businesses in Orange, Los Angeles, and San Diego Counties through complex legal challenges for over 40 years. I'm prepared to apply my decades of experience to your business partnership dissolution. Set up a consultation today.