Individuals usually focus on building a successful business when they form a partnership, and sometimes fail to consider many of the bad things that can occur that can derail their new enterprise.
No marriage has ever survived without at least an occasional disagreement, and partnerships are no different. The question becomes what do you do when the inevitable dispute occurs? Do you get a partnership “divorce” or do you find a way to work around the disagreement?
Most partnership disputes involve one of the following issues: (1) partner compensation or expenses, (2) business expansion or contraction, (3) changes in a partner’s family or marital status that affects the partnership, (4) a desire by one or more partners to exit the business or (5) changes in economic conditions. Naturally, the first thing you will likely try to do when confronted with a partnership dispute is to try to talk things out. However, if you suspect your partner may have done something illegal or may have tried to take advantage of you, then you should talk with a lawyer who knows partnership law without delay.
Partners owe each other a fiduciary duty. That is generally the highest business duty that one person can owe to another. The Texas Business Organizations Code in conjunction with the partnership agreement often governs the rights and responsibility of each of the partners. If you are involved in a partnership dispute, make sure the lawyer you hire has a good understanding of the applicable statutes and that he or she is well versed in contract law. Also, ask your lawyer whether a quick injunctive action might be helpful. Sometimes the best way to avoid a protracted and expensive legal fight when a partnership dispute cannot be resolved is to seek a temporary restraining order or injunction from the court that will bring the central issues to a head.
As in any relationship, minor disagreements will occur between partners. Most of the time such disagreements can be resolved, but if you face a serious matter that you believe merits legal assistance, look for an experienced partnership lawyer that knows the law and will stand up for your rights.