What Do I Do if My Partner Abandons Our LLC?


Member abandonment in a Florida Limited Liability Company (LLC) poses unique challenges, necessitating a blend of internal management strategies and legal recourse to protect the LLC's interests. Here's a step-by-step approach to navigate through such situations.

Initial Assessments and Review

  1. Operating Agreement Examination:
    • Specific Provisions: Look for clauses that directly address member inactivity or abandonment, including definitions of what constitutes abandonment, duties and obligations of members, and the process for handling such scenarios. You will also want to look for provisions addressing involuntary withdrawal of members.
    • Example: If the agreement states that failing to attend three consecutive meetings without reasonable cause constitutes abandonment, this sets a clear standard for action.
    • Action Steps: Arrange a meeting with remaining members to review these provisions and agree on the interpretation and implementation. Document this agreement for legal purposes.
  2. Understanding Fiduciary Duties:
    • Legal Framework: Florida LLCs are governed by Chapter 605. Pursuant to § 605.04091, Florida Statutes, members are bound by fiduciary duties of loyalty and care towards the LLC and each other. Abandonment might breach these, particularly if it harms the LLC’s operations or financial health.
    • Practical Example: If the absent member was responsible for vital operations that are now neglected, causing financial losses, this could be construed as a breach of duty.
    • Documentation: Collect evidence of the duties neglected and any resultant harm to the LLC. This might involve financial records, correspondence, and operations logs.

Steps for Resolution

  1. Internal Resolution Attempts:
    • Direct Communication: Attempt to contact the absent member via multiple channels (email, phone, certified mail) to discuss their absence. Record all attempts and any responses received.
    • Mediation: If direct contact is unsuccessful or the situation is contentious, propose mediation with a neutral third party. This can help facilitate a constructive discussion and potentially lead to an agreement, such as a structured exit or buyout. Mediation may or may not be required by the operating agreement, but even if it is not addressed, it can be a very useful tool for an effective and efficient resolution that avoids the time and costs (and stress) of litigation.
  2. Enforcing the Operating Agreement:
    • Involuntary Withdrawal: If the agreement permits, initiate the process for the involuntary withdrawal of the member. This might require a formal vote among remaining members and specific notice to the absent member.
    • Buyout Provisions: Calculate the buyout price as stipulated by the agreement, considering contributions, LLC valuation, and any depreciation due to the member’s actions. Offer this to the absent member as part of their exit strategy.
  3. Legal Recourse:
    • Judicial Dissolution: As a last resort, file for judicial dissolution under § 605.0702, demonstrating that it’s not practicable to carry on the business. This might involve showing how the abandonment disrupts operations to the point of untenability.
    • Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims: If applicable, file a lawsuit against the absent member for damages resulting from their abandonment. Evidence of the specific duties neglected and the direct harm to the LLC will be crucial.

Post-Resolution Steps and LLC Protection

  1. Operating Agreement Amendments:
    • Revise the agreement to incorporate more detailed provisions on member duties, processes for addressing non-participation, and clearer definitions of abandonment. This could include mandatory attendance at meetings, regular contributions (financial or operational), and explicit remedies for breaches.
    • Implementation: Hold a meeting with all members to discuss and unanimously approve these amendments. Ensure that all members understand the changes and their implications. IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not overcorrect. While you do want to sure up potential weak spots, do not give in to the instinct to tie members into cumbersome requirements that are unnecessary and unlikely to lead to increased compliance with the operating agreement.
  2. Conduct a Financial and Operational Audit:
    • Review the LLC’s finances and operations to identify any areas negatively impacted by the absence. This could involve hiring an external auditor to provide an unbiased assessment.
    • Actionable Insights: Use the audit's findings to implement corrective measures, such as adjusting financial practices, redistributing responsibilities, or hiring new personnel to fill gaps left by the absent member.
  3. Restructuring for Resilience:
    • Consider structural changes to the LLC that might prevent similar issues in the future or minimize their impact. This could involve creating a more robust management structure, establishing committees for critical operations, or introducing performance metrics for members.
    • Practical Application: Implement a rotating leadership or oversight model to ensure that no single member's absence paralyzes the LLC’s functionality. This model encourages collective responsibility and reduces dependency on any individual member.


Navigating a member's abandonment in a Florida LLC requires a comprehensive strategy that balances internal resolution efforts with potential legal actions. By closely adhering to the operating agreement and leveraging Florida’s legal framework, LLCs can address the immediate challenges of member abandonment while strengthening their operational resilience for the future. If you have questions about your LLC, contact the Business attorneys at MSD-Business for a free consultation.

About the Author:

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Description automatically generated Chase Carpenter is a partner in the Business Division of Law Offices of Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A. His practice revolves around business transactions and business litigation. Mr. Carpenter handles a wide range of cases including contract drafting, partnership disputes, commercial leases, and construction litigation. These cases encompass diverse industries, including healthcare, technology, real estate investment, and government contracting.

About the Firm:

The Law Offices of Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A., also known as MSD Business, is a local business law firm in Tampa, FL, serving clients throughout Fort Lauderdale and statewide. Our firm has a long history of helping clients navigate all types of complex legal matters, including local and state tax issues. In our business law practice, we assist clients with everything from mergers and acquisitions to contract disputes, business litigation, general counsel, and more.