If you are a business owner, and you are heading for divorce, how do you look forward, stay focused, and protect your business? This week we are talking about navigating the intersection of values and mission as business owners going through a divorce. Our guest on the show today is Peter Glennon, a divorce and business lawyer in Rochester, NY.
In our conversation with Peter, we talk about understanding business values, or ultimately core foundational values and mission, and how that impacts an impending divorce process. He gives examples of his company’s values and how they influence the way they practice law, and he talks about the challenges in separating business from personal relationships. We then talk about how business owners can protect their businesses during a divorce and why it’s important that you stop looking backward and remain forward-focused. If want to hear some insightful advice on how to rebuild and move your business forward after a divorce, then start listening now.
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Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha provide tips and recommendations on issues related to divorce, separation, and co-parenting in Colorado. Ryan and Amy are the founding partners of an innovative and ambitious law firm, Kalamaya | Goscha, that pushes the boundaries to discover new frontiers in family law, personal injuries, and criminal defense in Colorado.
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DISCLAIMER: THE COMMENTARY AND OPINIONS ON THIS PODCAST IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES AND NOT FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING LEGAL ADVICE. CONTACT AN ATTORNEY IN YOUR STATE OR AREA TO OBTAIN LEGAL ADVICE ON ANY OF THESE ISSUES.
Ryan Kalamaya (3s):
Hey everyone. I'm Ryan Kalamaya
Amy Goscha (6s):
And. I'm Amy Goscha
Ryan Kalamaya (8s):
Welcome to the Divorce at Altitude. A. Podcast on Colorado. Family Law.
Amy Goscha (13s):
Divorce is not easy. It really sucks. Trust me know. know Besides being an experienced divorce attorney, I'm also a Divorce client.
Ryan Kalamaya (20s):
Whether you are someone considering Divorce or a fellow Family Law attorney, listen in for weekly tips and insight into topics related to Divorce Co-Parenting and Separation in Colorado, Welcome Back to another episode of Divorce Altitude. This is Ryan Kalamaya This week. We're gonna talk about values and mission as well as business owners going through Divorce and I. Am joined by Divorce Lawyer and business lawyer in Rochester, New York, Peter, Glennon. Peter. welcome to the show,
Peter Glennon (58s):
Ryan. Thanks for having me. I appreciate this opportunity to chat with you about these topics and issues.
Ryan Kalamaya (1m 3s):
Yeah, your firm really focuses on helping business owners in business disputes, employment disputes, as well as matrimonial cases, divorces. So can you give listeners a little bit an idea of your background, you know, how you got into law and other issues that might be helpful for them to understand that conversation?
Peter Glennon (1m 25s):
Sure. So I started off in the legal profession, clerking for appellate, And, I, business litigation and employment law before I started off on my own about almost 10 years ago. Just started solo. In the last 10 years, we've grown to 15 of us, including 19 attorneys, excuse nine attorneys, And. we Ryan is focusing on a particular type of client. So we represent licensed professionals like doctors, dentists, financial security people, C-suite executives and business owners, small business owners with their four most common problems. We're litigation only. So we do their business litigation, which includes fighting with business partners or fighting with other businesses, with breach of contracts.
Peter Glennon (2m 10s):
We do their employment matters, with their employment laws and non-compete agreements and stock equity type of agreements. And, we do their trust and disputes. Cause usually on the private side, their families are fighting about businesses and Divorce of our clients have businesses or other assets. And some of those businesses are with their spouse and some of them are without their spouse. So when it comes to the matrimonial divorces, that's where we're involved litigating those complex financial matters. But across the board, I think the common theme through it all is relationships. Whether you're a business partner, whether you're business to business person, whether it's with your employees or your employer, or whether it's with your spouse or family members.
Peter Glennon (2m 54s):
When people are arguing about businesses and assets, whether for equitable distribution or otherwise, the same principles and same issues and concerns tend to arise.
Ryan Kalamaya (3m 6s):
Yeah. And you guys have really focused on the Intersection of trust, business disputes, commercial disputes, matrimonial and employment, like how those intersect for business owners. My firm is similar in that we really kind of go to the emotional, personal disputes with injuries, criminal defense and family loss. And. we thought that it would be interesting to have a show where we talk about the Intersection of some of the values and really to focus people because you know the mission. a lot of times people come to us, And, I, ask him, you know, how do you want your Divorce to be?
Ryan Kalamaya (3m 51s):
And it really kind of gets to that issue. So Peter, how do you think about the importance of understanding business values and mission in a Divorce?
Peter Glennon (4m 3s):
So, because it's a relationship, right? And, we all know that businesses, companies, they tend to have their mission statement and they have their values. And some of them, yeah, they just seem like they're posters on the wall. But other businesses, other companies, they truly believe their values. They wear their values on their sleeve, they, they live, breathe, and act that way. And those companies tend to be like what I would generally refer to as good people when we have our values, whatever set or, or from whatever background they come from. But when we all agree on those shared values, that's usually when you have these great relationships, right? So that's where you see spouse and then married, common values.
Peter Glennon (4m 50s):
It may be shared view or vision of the future and how they're gonna interact, support each other and raise a family. And similarly with businesses, especially when you have business partners involved, there's that shared vision based on those bedrock values, And, I. See, in these partnership disputes and or these marital spousal disputes is when somebody doesn't meet those expectations, that's when there's frustration. When those expectations of values are violated, that's usually where the friction starts. And when it continues, that's usually what leads somebody down the path to a Divorce
Ryan Kalamaya (5m 30s):
And Peter. Can you explain your own firm's values and how that can relate to how you approach a business dispute or a Divorce and why that might be important for people to understand?
Peter Glennon (5m 46s):
Sure. And you know, many people share these same values, right? I mean, I know that you, And, I have known each other a while. And, we share these values. Sometimes different businesses, different firms articulate differently. But whether it's a business dispute or employment or a Divorce, our values are publicly stated. I mean, it's always integrity first, right? So we have to be honest, we have to do the right, even if nobody's looking with our team, I always want to ensure that we're prepared. That's our second value. So we don't wanna learn something just when that issue arises. We wanna always constantly be learning so that we're ready. If somebody comes in the door and and has that concern, another value that we hold is taking action.
Peter Glennon (6m 31s):
Because when somebody's going through a Divorce, there's so much as, you know, emotional concerns involved the assets, because we all have clocks, right? A marital property, separate property, depending on which state you're in, you may need to take some action right away to protect the business, protect asset, protect that individual. So that's one of our values. Certainly communication we have communicate as one of our values. And that's for certainly with clients because they need to understand every issue, every question, every step along the way. I mean, Divorce, not many people like to do it multiple times. And if they do, they like to have right?
Peter Glennon (7m 11s):
15, 20 years maybe in between. So it's kinda a black box. So you have to be able to communicate with your clients and share that information. And similarly, you do need to be able to communicate with the court and opposing. That's something that we, we preach. We're not going take on white syndrome and just go fight as the white Knight trying to protect our client. We all have to be able to work together to get through this process. And certainly caring is one of our values. And, we care about our clients, we care about their concerns and issues. And, we certainly care about the community. And finally, our sixth issue, which is probably right up there with integrity's, just service, service, service.
Peter Glennon (7m 52s):
We know that when somebody comes in for a Divorce or any type of legal dispute, they've got a lot on their, and they've got life going on too. So the last thing they need is to be caught flatfooted or short notice on some matter that applies to their Divorce, whether it's a document or preparing discovery or deposition. So we always wanna make sure that we're far ahead in bringing that client around with excellent customer service. Those are our six core values in our firm. And. we find that when everybody on our team executes with those, the clients tend to be happier. The clients tend to understand more And, we tend to be able to resolve their dispute in a more time.
Peter Glennon (8m 36s):
Ryan Kalamaya (8m 37s):
I, love that so much. Peter, And, I know, you know, we're connected on LinkedIn, And, I Saw shared that your firm has a guarantee. And I'm wondering if you could, for listeners that haven't seen that on social media, what is your firm's guarantee in kind of a nutshell? And, I think it's so helpful for listeners to hear because not many law firms have a guarantee, or not many law firms have thought about the way to do business or to structure their own firm in a way that you have And, I think it's just really refreshing, Peter. So can you tell us a little bit about your firm's guarantee?
Peter Glennon (9m 19s):
Sure. And thanks Ryan. It it's, I've been told by other folks too that it is refreshing and new to see a promise guarantee. Cause of course most attorneys, we can't make guarantees about outcomes. And, we put it prominently on our website that we only make one promise and guarantee. And it's cause we can never promise or guarantee the results of the legal matter. But we can make a guarantee about what they get. With our team and our firm And, we guarantee that they get more than a lawyer. They get more than somebody who's just smart thinking about their case being strategic. They get trusted advisors, people who understand the client, the client's specific goals, their situation, And, we can help them devise a plan to achieve their personal goals.
Peter Glennon (10m 4s):
Whether it's an easy decision or tough decision, And, we be able to help them efficiently and effectively. And it really boils down to this. They'll know every issue, every option, whether we think it's helpful for them or not. Along the way, And, we make that promise that on this journey through Divorce or any other dispute, we're right there with them. They're never gonna be alone and they're never gonna be in the dark.
Ryan Kalamaya (10m 32s):
This episode is brought to you by our Lawfirm, Kalamaya, Goscha, Amy, And, I describe our Lawfirm as an innovative and ambitious trial team that pushes the boundaries to discover new frontiers in family law, personal injuries and criminal defense in Colorado. We currently have offices in Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Edwards, Denver, and Boulder. If you wanna find out more, visit our website, Kalamaya dot law. Now back to the show. you know, I think for my firm, even though, so we have three core values. I tried to simplify, I examined other businesses and made a decision to really focus on three core values.
Ryan Kalamaya (11m 15s):
And ours are, is innovation, client, service, and excellence. And, we are a good fit for our ideal client. And our ideal client, as you know, it's no surprise for listeners of this podcast is Eric and Melanie Wolf. And we've created our avatar and written a story about Eric Wolf and Melanie Wolf. And when someone calls our firm, we have an Eric Wolf for personal injury. We have a Melanie Wolf for criminal defense, And, we have a mission rating. So every prospective client that calls my firm, we rate them. And it's on a scale of one to 10. It's not 10 that they're a better looking client or that they have more money or that they're smarter.
Ryan Kalamaya (12m 1s):
It's just how do they match up And, I think it's one of those things that you would agree, Peter, that my firm and your firm, it's not the best fit for everyone. But for those we know who we can help And, we really focus in taking it back to someone in a Divorce they're not, Eric is not gonna get every single thing in his Divorce brings to and Divorce and the priorities that he thinks about, that he is likely going to hit his priorities if he communicates that to his attorney in terms of, it could be the children, it could be his business, it could be the house.
Ryan Kalamaya (12m 47s):
We really need to understand as lawyers, what are the priorities, what are the values? We also need to hold him accountable for the behavior and emotions because you know, he could be a business owner. And often business owners, when it involves their personal lives, they act emotionally irrationally and really kind of helping them through that process. Which brings us to The challenges in separating business and personal relationships. So can you, you know, Peter, talk to me a little bit about how you think about, you know, The challenges in separating business and personal relationships. you know, you've already touched on it a little bit.
Peter Glennon (13m 26s):
Sure. you know, it's interesting, with all my years of doing business litigation, And I was focused on that exclusively. It was so interesting to hear people say, you know, I could never do Family Law, I could never do Divorce cause there's so much And I would at that because here was doing very large business litigation matters. There was so much emotion, it was all personal, it was all reputation. And I would joke that even in these large companies, the average of time for a business litigation was about four years. And that seemed to coincide with the average tenure of that business executive. And once the new person came in, they say, clean this up. Why? Because it's what we were talking about earlier.
Peter Glennon (14m 7s):
It's all about relationships, whether it's business or Divorce. These are relationships where the expectations were no longer met, the may have been violated or just not followed. So needing to keep business aspect from the emotional, personal matrimonial side, it's very challenging cause you do have emotions on both sides. And I find as well is especially when you have a young couple, well excuse when they marry, when they're young without much, and one or both builds the business, a business for a small owner is still like another child. So now when you're going through this Divorce, you have the personal emotional concerns of the family separating.
Peter Glennon (14m 52s):
But now you have this question about the the business. So those are very challenging waters to navigate. And they're different for every person. Every person has a different view. I know so many people who always will say, you know, I know I'm getting divorced, I know don don't wanna live with my spouse anymore. But I still have a tremendous amount of respect for him or her for what they did with the business or what they did for the family while I was doing the business. And, we all know that those are certain elements that play into the valuation of the business, the distribution of the shares of the business. So to your point, honesty, integrity, understanding the client's goal and then holding them to that.
Peter Glennon (15m 36s):
I always like to say to clients, look, you're the boss and You can your mind, but I'm remind you how you felt when you first came in. What you said to me before, because I'm the detached one, I'm not emotionally involved. And, I'm sure you say something similar to your Divorce clients too. When you're hired, listen, you're gonna be frustrated with your spouse, with the spouse's attorney, with the judge. And you'll be frustrated with me at times. But just remember, I'm detached, unemotional about it. And, I'm looking out for your best interest. So, and that just goes back to, as you say, you have these avatars, And, I think that's brilliant. I know if everybody appreciates this, my firm's not built for that family that wants to fight about child custody or if they need protective orders.
Peter Glennon (16m 22s):
We're just not built that way. And, we refer people out for those types of matters. Yes, we can handle child custody disputes as an element of it, but we put it right on our website too, under FAQs. you know, are you the right attorney for, well if these are your main issues, no, but call us And. we give referral. If your main issues are how do we work through this with a business or an asset or the relationship, sure come to us. And that's how we're built. That makes it more efficient for our target type of client. We understand that. We understand the business And we and we're built for it And, we can better assist them going through those emotional challenges that you talk about.
Ryan Kalamaya (17m 2s):
Peter, I think, correct me if I'm wrong, but often Eric, Wolf, the business owner, he'll outline his priorities and then you'll meet them and then you'll say, well I want more. Because business owners tend to be highly dopaminergic. They just want more. It's what led to them being successful. They're ambitious human beings. And then they'll just want more and more. And there's a certain point when you have to say, listen, is this really about the forks and the knives? This is really about that Fox sculpture that you bought a year ago. Or is this something more that you're just trying to win?
Ryan Kalamaya (17m 44s):
And you know, I tell people, you don't pay me for ENTERTAINMENT, you pay me to win. And you know, the people like hearing that. The reality is that the winning in Divorce is when people have a successful business two years down the road and they can still speak with their spouse. And a lot of times I think people, they don't appreciate business owners, they get stuck in their emotions and that's fine. Everyone has emotions, but you have to remind them about their time. It's not just about the fees or the money that they're paying, it's also their time, their stress and their reputation. I mean certainly some business owners can just drill down and they don't realize what reputation they're creating out in the community and how they treat their significant other.
Peter Glennon (18m 29s):
I think you're spot on Ryan. You're exactly right. I always try to remind people, define winning. Winning isn't getting more from your soon winning is about you positioning yourself to attain your goals. Because life will go on this business may need to support maintenance or alimony payments. It may need to support the child payments. You may need to generate revenue to pay out your equitable distribution. So the real question is what do you need and how do we accomplish that? And in those situations, I turn around to clients, And, I say, why do you care so much? Do you wanna stay married? Oh no, no, no, I don't then look forward. Stop looking backward.
Peter Glennon (19m 9s):
It's not about how much You can take into your point, this Divorce is a distraction from your focus on your business or distraction from moving on with your life. And that's part of the cost benefit, right? Right.
Ryan Kalamaya (19m 21s):
And, we, you know, we're getting into those are methods that You can protect the business. Are there other things, Peter that you see where you advise business owners? How can Eric Wolf, if he's a business owner, what are the things that he can do to protect the business during a Divorce or things that he should keep in in mind that we haven't already covered?
Peter Glennon (19m 43s):
There's many tips and tricks there. And one that just comes to my mind, I just wrote a blog post about this cause it was a recent case that affected a New York business that was formed in in Delaware. But it's, we talk about there's premarital agreements, prenupt agreements, postnup, whatever you wanna call it. It's an agreement between the parties before and after they're married in which they agree if they're to Divorce, how they'll handle these assets. And that's something we could talk more about. It's s a quality, there's some other sides to that. And that was the point of the blog post, not to jump ahead, but if you have an llc, which tends to be a favorite business entity type, there's also in the operational documents, the governing documents for an llc.
Peter Glennon (20m 33s):
You can make comments in there too about what can or cannot happen upon your Divorce. And the blog post I made recently was the LLC operating agreement actually trumped the agreement Intersection of business and and marriage. You really need to talk to a competent, qualified matrimonial attorney and business attorney to understand how these puzzle pieces fit together.
Ryan Kalamaya (20m 59s):
Yeah, in Colorado the, a lot of doctors or lawyers, professionals, you know, your ideal client and they certainly fall within, you know, we've represented a lot of professionals and Eric Wolf has that professional background, but the operating agreement or the partnership agreement, they'll say my business is worthless because I'm going through a Divorce and I get nothing. you know, those are informative. But it is helpful to have those agreements because they can protect your business. And ultimately Melanie Wolf, she should want, I'm gonna advise Melanie if I'm representing her, you should want Eric to do well and protect his business. He should get the business because then it's gonna be like what you said, pay for maintenance or child support.
Ryan Kalamaya (21m 43s):
It's gonna be, you know, a marital asset. But other issues that I can think of is really be cognizant of the privacy concerns. you know, having a protective order or confidentiality agreement where if there are business partners, their information is held confidentially and so that Melanie's not out, you know, talking about the proprietary information cuz Melanie's during the divorces, she's gonna learn a lot of information. But also figuring out is a business where a joint valuation expert is gonna be helpful as opposed to a retained expert that's gonna be less expensive and less contentious if both people have buy-in.
Ryan Kalamaya (22m 25s):
But there are different things that I think lawyers who are set up like you are and like I am to address businesses, I see businesses closely held private businesses, they come up so frequently in, there's a reason that Eric Wolf in in our story has a business and it's because that's what we typically deal with. Like you and you know, I think people really need to focus on finding an attorney that's a good fit for them in that regard. Let's talk about you about moving forward Peter. What are things that come up in your mind about Rebuilding and moving forward post Divorce for those business owners in a Divorce,
Peter Glennon (23m 6s):
Right, well you mentioned it before, Ryan is reputation, right? We don't want the brand to be tarnished at all. Even if you're a small business in your community, you don't have to be the largest business out there, but nobody wants or needs to hear about your personal private Divorce. That becomes the of, so you definitely wanna protect that reputation business, ensure You can And, we business is an asset that can keep supporting financially the family members and any other legal obligations. One piece I'll, I'll mention as an aside, prior comments about confidentiality, many times you have the potential for the soon spouse to go compete against you know, the business.
Peter Glennon (23m 56s):
Maybe they were there and helped you set it up. So whenever we're talking about equitable distribution, whenever somebody is trying to get a little bit more here or there, sometimes that question arises about protecting that business post Divorce. Maybe there's value with a non-compete agreement, maybe there's some non-disclosure agreement into You can stay on your business and still make sure that you have time for your children if you have them with your visitation or parenting plan and you wanna work that into your business because you don't wanna be distracted from that business and you do wanna maintain those other positive relationships around it because you'll have goals, whatever they may be.
Peter Glennon (24m 40s):
Maybe it's to travel more, maybe it's to scale the business, maybe it's to change the direction of the business. But the best thing And I think, my last comment on this is I always remind people with a Divorce, if you have children, you're never fully separated. But when you do have a business entity involved, it can be under circumstances the best idea to make sure there's a clear clean break from that so that there's no longer a discussion or picking on each other about the direction of management.
Ryan Kalamaya (25m 11s):
I'm glad you mentioned the non-competes I've done that. I had spouses that were gonna compete with one another. I'm really glad you mentioned that. The other thing is that, you know, Divorce is this introspective examining period in one's life and you go through financials. I think it's an opportunity for a business owner to revisit their mission statement, revisit their vision, revisit their financial picture after going through evaluation if, if that occurs and really look at opportunities. How can I improve my business after learning? And if they just get stuck in the anger and the, this is so unfair, you're missing the point and you're missing an opportunity to grow it.
Ryan Kalamaya (25m 53s):
It You can, you know, really have a different perspective. But Peter, thank you so much. I'm really glad that you were able to join us and, and I'm hopeful that that is helpful for those, you know, understanding that When Worlds Collide and we're Navigating the Intersection of Business Values and mission statement with a Divorce that they have some really concrete things and we'll have links to your bio in the show notes. But thanks again for taking the time to join us.
Peter Glennon (26m 22s):
No, thank you very much Ryan. I've enjoyed this discussion and you're stick respect others relationship that's ending And I think they're gonna do very well. So thanks again, Ryan. Great
Ryan Kalamaya (26m 34s):
Hey everyone, this is Ryan again. Thank you for joining us on Divorce at Altitude. If you found our tips, insight, or discussion helpful, please tell a friend about this podcast. For show notes, additional resources or links mentioned on today's episode, visit Divorce at Altitude dot com. Follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen in. Many of our episodes are also posted on YouTube. You can also find Amy and me Kalamaya.Law or 970-315-2365. That's K A L A M A Y A. law