You have probably determined now is the right time to leave your business partnership. In many situations where one partner leaves, the remaining partner or partners remain with the business. This can create legal complications if you try to sell your ownership stake in the business to someone your partners do not approve of.
Many business partnerships have a buyout clause that allows one or more partners to buy out a single partner. If you want to sell your ownership to your partner, you probably do not have much to worry about. But if you want to sell to a different buyer, you should be sure that your current business contract does not restrict you.
First right of refusal
As Entrepenueur.com explains, you might not have a choice if you want to sell your ownership stake. According to the terms of your partnership, the other partner or partners in your company may have the first right of refusal. In this situation, before you can offer your ownership to an outside buyer, you have to wait for your partners to decide whether to buy you out or not.
Assuming your other partners refuse to buy your ownership or your partners do not have a first right of refusal, the terms of your partnership may have other stipulations that restrict who you can sell your ownership to. There may be requirements for another party to buy into the business, such as having certain skills and experience critical to the company. The contract may also forbid certain parties from buying in.
Additionally, your partnership contract may describe the process for how a new partner can buy your interest and take your place in the company. While these requirements might seem burdensome, they are for the benefit of all involved and can prevent an undesirable person from suddenly assuming a leadership role in a business.