Disagreement between partners

A business partner who frequently takes all the money out of the bank account and transfers it to his own company, refuses to discuss anything and fails to pay tax assessments. These are just some of the problems that my client came to me to seek help with.

The partner claimed that he sometimes paid bills owed by the joint company. He considered that the company my client had financed should be his alone, as he was better at sales. So what’s the best way to deal with this?

Proceedings before the Enterprise Section of the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam are expensive. And there’s no guarantee of the outcome. In addition, disagreements within small companies almost always result in a drop in turnover, so the value of a quick solution should not be underestimated.

By sending the partner a letter drawing his attention to numerous breaches of his legal and contractual obligations, I succeeded in getting him to come and discuss the situation after all. After some discussion of the past difficulties, I was able to persuade the parties that the best way forward was to part ways quickly without doing any further damage to the business.

Despite their difficult relationship, I managed to persuade them to reach agreement so that they could go their separate ways. I set out and confirmed the agreement on paper the same day, wording it as neutrally as possible. This produced no response and no signature. Finally, I was contacted by a lawyer who denied everything. Time to go to court?

Despite irritation at the broken promises, I made an appointment with the lawyer and the awkward partner within two days. In the end, we had to redo half the negotiations, as there’s nothing to be gained from going to court about an oral agreement that the other party denies. I agreed to the renegotiations on the condition that the agreement would be put into writing immediately and the parties would not go home without signing. After a marathon meeting lasting more than six hours, this was achieved.

So despite a few skirmishes at the eleventh hour, my client was able to move on and his company is now doing well.

In many cases, a workable solution is better than a fair trial!