Judy Rosenberg and Eliot Winograd have been business partners for 35 years as co-owners of Rosie’s Bakery, a 30-employee, $2.5 million Boston institution with four locations. Their marriage was less successful: It lasted two years, from 1979 to 1981, and “was not a good personal dynamic,” Rosenberg says. Despite their failure to make their marriage last, they attribute their ability to remain in business to mutual trust and admiration for each other’s business skills, among other reasons.
Figuring out how to sustain a family business after a divorce is important: Roughly 65 percent of U.S. businesses are family owned, with about 30 percent co-owned by spouses, estimates Glenn Muske, an entrepreneurship professor at North Dakota State University who has spent 14 years researching couples in business. Between 40 percent and 50 percent of all first marriages will end in divorce, a rate that has declined slightly over the past decade as marriage became less common, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.