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Divorce and the Family Farm

Published on 3 January 2020 | Modified on 14 December 2022

Written by Stacey Bennett
family farm in divorce

We appreciate that farming is distinct to most other businesses. We are very aware that farming is a way of life and not just a business. The long hours, social isolation and volatility in the industry can understandably place significant pressure on the family unit.

Farming divorces are also notoriously difficult cases to resolve. As opposed to most divorces, divorces involving the family farm require a more imaginative and flexible approach in order to achieve a successful and fair outcome.

What makes farming divorces different?

  • Income-poor but capital-rich – The underlying value of the land and other property is often substantial when compared with the income produced from the assets.
  • Inherited assets – Farms are often inherited and therefore firmly embedded in family history. Farms are therefore often, although not always, considered to be ‘non-matrimonial property’.
  • Third-party interests – Ownership of the farm can be complicated by third parties (often other family members) having an interest in the farm.
  • Complex ownership/business structures – farming tenancies, trust and/or corporate ownership.
  • Diversification – Other businesses are often run from the farm in order to supplement the farm’s income.

In a worst-case scenario, a divorce can lead to the end of the business and sale of land/property in order to meet the spouse’s needs. That’s why we at Poole Alcock have lawyers that specialise in farming divorces. We understand that farming divorces are complex and require specialist knowledge and understanding. Having quality legal advice may very well save you time and money in the long term.

Pre-nuptial Agreements for Farmers

There are ways in which the often far-reaching consequences of a divorce on the family farm can be lessened. Pre-nuptial Agreements can serve as an effective way of protecting the agricultural business and other assets acquired prior to marriage.

Effective planning using a Pre-nuptial Agreement as a business tool can determine how assets can be divided if a divorce is necessary for the future, thus helping to avoid a potential for there to be a tangled and messy divorce.

Our specialist family lawyers go to great lengths to ensure that the terms of the Pre-Nuptial agreement are sufficiently robust to be upheld by a Court.

If you wish to contact our specialist family law team, please complete our contact us form here to arrange a consultation.

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