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Unjust Enrichment: Are you entitled to compensation when you help your significant other build their business?

A recent case from our neighbor next door, Wisconsin, raised an interesting legal argument – can an ex-fiancé be entitled to additional compensation after a break-up if she helped build a business with her ex-fiancé? The answer is a complex legal question, so the answer is possibly maybe!

In the case from Wisconsin, the former fiancé to John Menard, Jr., the founder of Menards, sued Mr. Menard after their relationship ended. Her legal claim was based on that she worked for Mr. Menard and “helped him build his business” while they were together. Because of this additional work during the relationship, she was requesting of the Court funds for her essential sweat equity in the business.


Ultimately the Court ruled that she was not entitled to any additional funds after the end of their relationship. In this situation, Mr. Menard was a successful business person prior to their relationship and the work that she did, did not build the business. Mr. Menard had his empire before he met his ex-fiancé.

Although she was unsuccessful, it does mirror arguments that many people make during a divorce – i.e. the extra work one spouse put into home additions/repairs, etc. These claims can be successful depending on the proof presented or work done, but are oftentimes unsuccessful claims. Each case is fact specific so if you would like to discuss your case with one of our attorneys, please contact us to set up a free initial consultation.

If you have questions related to a possible dissolution of marriage, child custody questions, or parenting time concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our office (952) 224-9410