Can you force your business partner to leave the company?

Your business partnership just isn’t working. Your partner is holding you back — and holding the company back. Can you force them out?

The first thing to consider is whether or not you have a partnership agreement or an operating agreement. If you do, it should specify how and why either person can be asked to leave.

For instance, maybe your partner made a mistake that cost the company a lot of money and the agreement says that egregious errors like this are valid reasons to ask them to leave. (Presumably, your partner agreed to this when you started the company.) 

What if there isn’t an agreement in place that gives you a solution?

Unfortunately, not all companies have operating agreements or partnership agreements. If you don’t, your best option is to ask your partner if they’ll consider leaving. You may be able to negotiate with them to get them to move on — perhaps by offering an attractive severance package.

If they refuse to leave, that’s when you and your partner may wind up in court. Litigation can make things take longer than they would otherwise, but the court may side with you and tell your partner that they have to leave or that they have to take the severance package. You can get a court order when it seems like you and your partner are simply never going to agree. 

Business litigation against a partner is a complicated process

All that being said, a partnership problem is a complex process, and getting the court to force your partner out is not always easy. You need to know what steps you have to take along the way.