What are my options if I started a business with 3 family members who have proven to be useless?

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What are my options if I started a business with 3 family members who have proven to be useless?

Our only asset is a screenprinter we acquired over three years ago for $2,000. We each threw down $500 each for the printer. Since then I have been the only contributing partner and their roles have slowly diminished to nothing. We have reported minimal losses since our registration about 3 1/2 years ago, but losses nonetheless. Could I file the dissolution papers for the business, pay my partners for our asset, and start a new business by myself. Can I do this; I would like to do this and keep the screenprinter so I can continue to do business on my own. Or would I have to get rid of the current printer even though I’m paying them?

Asked on May 27, 2014 under Business Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

A *majority* of the owners (or ownership interests) can decide to dissolve a business: a minority cannot. If you are, say, 1/4 of the owners, you therefore cannnot unilaterally make the decisions to dissolve the business (or decide how to pay out other owners; what to do with assets; etc.) You need to try to work it out with the other owners and get their consent/agreement to the plan. If that doesn't work, you can go to court seeking a court order for dissolution and division of the assets, but that could easily cost you (if you hired an attorney) more than the amount of value or assets in the company.


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