I built up a company with my husband for 15 years. Although the company is in his name, I’ve sacrificed along with him.
I’ve struggled to make ends meet, encouraged him when needed, helped him with the admin and so on. Now the company is strong and investors want to buy it and build it into an even bigger company.
During the talks that have been going on around this over the past months my husband has been offered shares in the company but I’ll get nothing.
I feel betrayed by my husband because although I didn’t own the company I worked just as hard to get it where it is today.
My husband simply says what’s his is mine but we’re not married in community of property and so legally what he says isn’t true.
We have a fairly happy marriage so we’re not going to divorce in the near future, but I feel as if I haven’t been given recognition for my part in building the company.
- Doreen, email
Dr Louise’s advice
It’s not pleasant to feel as if you’ve been skimmed over or that your contribution hasn’t been noticed.
I’m sure your husband is fully aware of how much you put into the company but the new investors are probably more concerned about the business as it is now, and not necessarily how it was built up.
It’s up to your husband to ensure that you also get recognition during the negotiation process, whether in the form of preferential shares or a share in the company.
Although you have a happy marriage and don’t wish to divorce in the near future, it would be fair that the work you put in to ensure the company’s success is also recognised.
Your husband could even decide to give some of his shares to you without losing too much clout in the boardroom. However it’s handled, it should be done before the new company is formed.