Divorce can threaten your family farm. If you own a farm and you know your marriage is ending, then you need experts who can help. Our team of divorce lawyers specializes in helping farmers navigate agreements that protect the family home and family business.
Farm divorces are complex, and often require creative legal solutions. We’ll fight to protect your interests and to preserve all of your options. We have a long, successful track record protecting farms just like yours.
How are assets divided in a farm divorce?
The law doesn’t change when a farm is involved. Assets should still be divided fairly, and as close to 50/50 as possible, barring other factors. Yet on a farm, dividing assets isn’t easy.
There are crops in the ground and livestock in the field. How much are they worth? There’s farm equipment, and if you sell it to create a lump sum payment so you can split the proceeds, the farm can’t run. The marital home is attached to the farm, making it harder to sell. Both spouses may own shares in the family farm business, making it similar to a high net worth divorce.
Farms are often riddled by debt, complicating matters still more. Whose debt is it? Who should pay it?
Even identifying marital and nonmarital property becomes much harder on a farm. Determining income is hard, because farmers have variable income.
The key is often structuring the divorce agreement in a way that allows the farm to continue running. For example, you might structure a lump sum equalization payment over the course of several years and agree to a larger spousal support sum in exchange for holding on to the farm business and all of the property.
This is just one highly simplistic example. Most farm divorces come with far more complex arrangements.
Do farmers need prenups?
It is always a good idea for a farmer to have a prenup so you can clearly outline which property is “yours” as you enter the marriage. The prenup should be updated every ten years as much can change. For example, you might acquire more property. Your spouse might get a windfall and use it to help you invest in new farm equipment.
The more you can get settled before the divorce, when both you and your spouse are more likely to care about what happens to each other, the farm, and the children’s legacy, the more likely you are to create an equitable settlement that saves the family farm.
If you’re a farmer who is thinking about getting married soon, contact us right away.
Why Family Lawyer Winnipeg?
It’s not common to find divorce lawyers who have experience with farming cases. Our team does, which means we already have a good sense of what options to start exploring when you come to us with your unique case.
We care about helping you preserve your legacy, and we care about keeping the farm running smoothly. To get started, call (204) 982-0803 to schedule a consultation.